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New York To Legalize Medical Marijuana?

Submitted by on January 6, 2014 – 9:00 am3 Comments

The New York Times reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce this week the limited legalization of medical marijuana. That would make the state the twenty-first in the union to allow some form of legal cannabis for medical purposes, as attitudes towards marijuana are shifting drastically across the country.

The plan would be limited to just severely ill patients, such as those suffering from cancer or glaucoma. It will be much more restrictive than medical marijuana laws in states like California, where the substance is available for much more minor aches and pains.

Cuomo, who was previously New York’s Attorney General, had resisted attempts to legalize marijuana at any level in the state. The measure will be an executive order, which does not require any action by the legislature. In New York, the governor can issue such orders under a public health law.

This week, Colorado began operating the first dispensaries of recreational marijuana, legalized under state law (it is still illegal under federal law). The stores have drawn long lines, and dispensaries say they will soon run out of stock. Washington State also decriminalized marijuana, and its stores are set to open later this year.

In 1970, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic in the US, meaning it is under the strictest prohibitions and cannot not be prescribed by a doctor. This has made it nearly impossible to conduct research on the substance in the country.

A recent Gallup poll found that for the first time, a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. The number jumped ten percent, from 48% to 58%, in just one year.


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