Local doctors say there aren't medical benefits to legalizing marijuana in New York

Dr. Brian Johnson, Director of Addiction Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University says there are no medical benefits from marijuana.

New York may soon follow in the footsteps of 21 other states and legalize medical marijuana, but Dr. Brian Johnson, the Director of Addiction Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Dr. Elizabeth Berry, a clinical psychologist with Crouse Hospital, say it won't be helping their patients.

"There is no clear medical benefit to inhaling unknown drugs that are mixed with unknown other chemicals," says Johnson.

"No there hasn't been any significant research that shows the advantages of this drug over traditional medicine," says Berry.

In fact, doctors say there are proven negative side effects.

"You have trouble remembering things. On average your IQ level drops by 8 points so it's an ideal drug for people who don't really need their brain," says Johnson.

Doctors also say there are consequences as a gateway drug.

"We're finding the age of first use is lowering and lowering and now I've had 8 year olds tell me that they've used marijuana and that it's in the elementary schools," says Berry.

While getting lunch in Armory Square, Jim Spignardo of Fayetteville told CNYCentral's Dora Scheidell that he supports the Governor's plan.

"As far as medical use given the right controls in place I think it's probably a good idea," says Spignardo.

Barbara and Charlie Cote, visiting from Rochester, also believe there are benefits to legalizing medical marijuana.

"I think there's just too much money spent on incarcerating people who probably aren't really criminals," says Barbara Cote.

"I think it's probably healthier for you to have something that is made naturally that comes from the earth," says Charlie Cote.

Kelly Wilcox, who lives in Lafayette but works Downtown says there could also be a financial benefit for the state.

"Maybe an extra source of revenue if you tax it. I'd like to see how it works in Colorado and Washington. I'm glad were not the first state doing it," says Wilcox.

New York is certainly not the first state

and probably not the last to legalize some form of marijuana