New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to move this week to allow limited use of marijuana by those with serious illnesses.
The Democratic governor, who has long opposed legalizing medical use of the drug, plans to make the announcement during his annual state address on Wednesday, The New York Times reports
Cuomo faces re-election in the fall.
Under the plan, 20 hospitals statewide would be allowed to prescribe marijuana to patients with glaucoma, cancer, or other illnesses according to standards to be set by the New York State Department of Health, the Times reports.
Cuomo's announcement would follow moves by such states as California and Colorado in easing restrictions on marijuana.
Colorado this week began selling the drug for recreational use
at nearly three dozen former medical marijuana dispensaries, creating a market that state officials said could generate as much as $578 million in annual revenues, including $67 million in state tax receipts.
New Jersey, in addition, recently began opening what's planned to be six dispensaries for medical marijuana.
New York expects to have the infrastructure in place later this year to begin dispensing medical marijuana, although the Times reports that state officials were not sure when the drug would be available to patients.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, praised Cuomo's move to the Times, adding that the governor “remains committed to developing the best medical marijuana law in the country."
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