BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York has officially become the 23rd state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Governor Andrew Cuomo put the pen to paper and signed the law at 1 p.m. Monday. It’s been a long road to the historic chapter for patients suffering from extreme pain.
The state legislature voted overwhelmingly last month to legalize the drug to alleviate pain and other symptoms for some severely ill patients. People in a lot of pain won’t be able to use medical marijuana for at least 18 months.
Sharon Faraci, with the Breast Cancer Network of Western New York, is urging the governor to make medical pot available sooner.
Smoking medical pot isn’t allowed under the law, it will only be available in other forms like creams. Every legal sale would be taxed seven percent. Health insurers wouldn’t be required to provide coverage.
It would be prescribed for serious conditions like cancer, HIV/ AIDS, parkinson’s, MS, nervous system damage or as added by the Department of Health.
If at any point the governor doesn’t like how the program is running he can suspend it. The bill expires in seven years. The governor says it’s a balanced law.