New York became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana for medicinal use. Governor Andrew Cuomo officially signed the bill into law on June 19, 2014, to the delight of advocates who were pushing legislators to help individuals who are struggling with medical concerns, for which medicinal cannabis could be legal.
While the New York bill that legalizes medicinal marijuana bears similarities to other states, there was one big difference. The bill sponsored by State Senator Diane Savino and State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried only allows for the legal use of medicinal marijuana with a vaporizer. Smoking marijuana is still illegal for all residents of New York, and it's likely to remain that way.
What Is a Vaporizer?
A vaporizer or vape pen is a device that is primarily used to self-administer marijuana; however, it can also be used for aromatherapy with other non-drug herbs and tobacco. There are three main types of vaporizers or vape pens:
- Desktop Vaporizer - Desktop vaporizers are large devices that run on electricity and are made to sit on a tabletop or desktop. They hold the most marijuana and are considered by many to be the most efficient dry herb vaporizer for the drug.
- Portable Vaporizer - Portable vaporizers are handheld devices that run on batteries, butane, or an external flame. They can range in size from larger cordless devices to smaller devices that can fit into a pocket.
- Vaporizer Pen - Vaporizer pens or vape pens are the smallest vaporizers. Like the name suggests, a vape pen is long and slender like a writing pen. Pens are the lightest and most portable types of vaporizers. Nearly all vaporizer pens use batteries.
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What Does a Vaporizer Actually Do?
Vaporizers work by releasing marijuana's active chemical, THC. This is done by raising the temperature of the dry herbs until they reach their point of vaporization. At this level of heat, the active substances evaporate from marijuana and become vapor. You can think of the vapor as being like steam from water in that it doesn't contain carbon like smoke. The person using the vaporizer draws the vapor into their lungs. This can be done in different ways. With a vaporizer pen or portable vaporizer, drawing is usually done through a mouthpiece right on the device. With a desktop vaporizer, the vapor is either drawn out through a silicone hose apparatus called a whip, or is blown into a bag and then drawn out with a mouthpiece.
Why Did New York Ban Smoking Medical Marijuana?
Politicians in New York banned smoking medicinal marijuana for the same reason that many doctors don't approve of smoking pot for medical reasons due to the general risks of smoking. Inhaling smoke doesn't just fill the body with the active chemicals from marijuana; it also draws carcinogens into the body. While smoking pot doesn't expose the body to all of the poisons found in cigarettes, the carcinogens found in the smoke could still increase the risk of cancer. Plus, smoking can irritate the trachea and lungs. New York lawmakers were willing to accept that marijuana benefits are real for individuals with certain medical conditions; however, they did not feel that the benefits would outweigh the risks posed by smoking.
Why Approve Vaporizing Marijuana?
Vaporizing is generally accepted as a cleaner way to use marijuana. Studies have shown that vaping marijuana does not contain carcinogens, and it is not likely to cause the type of irritation that smoke can cause. As a result, New York lawmakers chose vaporizing as the only approved method of using marijuana in the state.
Since the passage of the marijuana law, sales of portable, desktop, and pen vaporizers have risen dramatically in New York. This is also the case across the country. This is because even in areas where people aren't required to use a vaporizer to utilize marijuana for medicinal purposes, many individuals are choosing to vaporize due to the potential dangers of smoking.
Medical Marijuana In New York