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article imageNew York expected to become next medical marijuana state

By Nathan Salant     Jun 21, 2014 in Health
New York - New York could legalize medical marijuana as soon as this week after a proposal to that effect passed the state legislature on Friday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had backed the measure, entitled the Compassionate Care Act, which permits patients to use marijuana in a non-smokeable form, and is expected to sign it as soon as possible.
"Medical marijuana has significant upsides and significant potential downsides; we wanted to do right," Cuomo said Friday, according to Cable News Network (CNN).
"It is a system that will provide the benefits to people who need it, which can be significant," he said.
The new marijuana distribution system is expected to take 18 months to implement fully, CNN said, and drugs would only be supplied to patients with specified conditions.
State Sen. Diane Savino of New York City, a sponsor of the new law, called the bill's passage "historic"and said it would relieve "needless" suffering by patients.
"Under this bill, New Yorkers will now have the same access to life-changing treatment options that others around the country have had," she said.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver issued a written statement endorsing the legislation and saying it had "overwhelming support" in statewide polls.
When Cuomo signs the law, New York will become the country's 23rd state, not including the District of Columbia, to permit the use of medical marijuana in any form, CNN said, relying on data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey, which border New York, allow the use of medical marijuana, CNN said.
But medical marijuana opponents expressed outrage at New York's law.
"I think serious questions can be raised about using a political vehicle to achieve the use of a prescribable medication in America," William Foster of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency told CNN when the bill was introduced in January.
More about Marijuana, Medical, New york, Patients, prescribed
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