POT POLITICS

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FYI: Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried kicked off the sixth year of his campaign to broaden the legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in New York yesterday. In introducing a bill he’s put forth every year since 1997, Gottfried held a hearing that he says is designed to keep the issue on the map. The issue, however, is far from the Senate’s agenda, where no one has stepped forward to introduce a companion bill. Nevertheless, a 1999 Zogby International poll found that 80 percent of New Yorkers support opening the drug to medical use. A 1980 law allows its medical use for research purposes only; eight states and the District of Columbia have passed ballot initiatives legalizing medical marijuana. [1/23/03]