New York state legalizes medical marijuana

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New York state legalizes medical marijuana

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Jul 7, 2014

New York is the 23rd state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to permit the use of medical marijuana. The state's neighbors, Connecticut and New Jersey, already support the drug's medicinal usage.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated during a news conference that, "There is no doubt that medical marijuana can help people," reports CNN. "We are here to help people. And if there is a medical advancement, then we want to make sure that we're bringing it to New Yorkers."

Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act, which "allows doctors to prescribe marijuana in a nonsmokable form to patients with serious ailments that are recognized by the state on a predefined but flexible list of conditions," further reports CNN. "Cuomo has said the act includes criminal penalties in case a person tries to defraud the system, as well as a 'fail safe' mechanism allowing the governor to 'suspend the program at any time on recommendation of either the State Police Superintendent or the Commissioner of Health if there is a risk to the public health or public safety.'"

According to CNN, state Senate co-leader Jeffrey D. Klein additionally says that this program "will be one of the safest, most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs in the country."