New York is set to become the next state to legalize marijuana use for medical purposes after U.S. officials reached a deal with pro-marijuana legislators.
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislators reached an agreement to launch a pilot program which allows patients in the state to be prescribed the drug from certified doctors.
The user has to be suffering from a list of specific chronic illnesses including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy. Prescribed cannabis cannot be smoked -- unless vaporized in the same manner as e-cigarettes -- but can be ingested as a pill or as an edible substance.
The bill also limits the number of medical marijuana manufacturers in the state of New York to five, and mandates that the program must be evaluated after a pilot time period of seven years. If deemed unworkable, the pilot scheme can also be scrapped at any time.
The drug will be grown in New York and taxed at seven percent.
"There are certainly significant medical benefits that can be garnered; at the same time, it's a difficult issue because there are also risks that have to be averted," Cuomo said. "We believe this bill strikes the right balance."
Read on: The New York Times
Image credit: Flickr