New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he will take executive action next week that will allow for the use of cannabis for medical purposes among those with serious illnesses.
Under Governor Cuomo’s plan, which bypasses the legislature by relying on a provision in the public health law known as the Antonio G. Olivieri Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Program, 20 hospitals across the state will be authorized to prescribe cannabis to patients with cancer, glaucoma and other diseases that meet standards to be set by the New York State Department of Health.
While this plan would fall well short of being as progressive as other medical cannabis laws – especially in states like Colorado and California – it nonetheless moves New York in the right direction, and will have a direct impact on thousands of individuals who rely on cannabis for its medical capabilities.
Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, praised Governor Cuomo’s decision, saying that it’s “a bold and innovative way of breaking the logjam”, referring to multiple stalled attempts in the state’s legislature to legalize medical cannabis.
Governor Cuomo hopes to have an infrastructure in place this year to begin dispensing medical cannabis through state-licensed dispensaries.