ALBANY (PIX11) – New York is on the verge of becoming the 23rd state in the nation to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo paved the way for passage of a measure that would allow patient to use the drug through vaporization. The state Senate and Assembly are expected to give their approval Friday night as they race toward adjournment.
Cuomo had held off approving the law because he wanted certain provisions changed in the original bill, particularly the provision that marijuana would be administered through smoking.
Supporters of the bill said smoke was the most effective way to relieve pain in seriously ill patients, but the governor did not want to allow smoking the drug.
Cuomo worked out a compromise that provides for vaporization of marijuana, limits the number of illnesses to cover and sets severe penalties for anyone defrauding its use. He set a fail-safe factor that would enable him to suspend the program at any time if he deems there is a risk to public safety.
Among the illnesses to be covered under the measure are epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and cancer.
The marijuana would be harvested in New York and a timetable would be established as to when the program would begin.