Last Monday, Gov. Cuomo announced that he has signed into law a bill to establish a medical marijuana program in New York.  The state becomes the 23rd in the nation to permit the medicinal use of cannabis.  New York is just one of two states that do not allow the drug to be consumed through smoking.

The new law requires the state Department of Health (DOH) to put in place a medical marijuana program within 18 months.  It establishes a certification and registry process for physicians to ensure that it is available only to patients with serious conditions. The conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are: cancer; HIV/AIDS; ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease); Parkinson’s Disease; multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity; epilepsy;  inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies; and Huntington’s Disease.  Other conditions can be added to this list if the Commissioner of Health approves.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“This new law takes an important step toward bringing relief to patients living with extraordinary pain and illness.  The legislation I am signing today strikes the right balance between our desire to give those suffering from serious diseases access to treatment, and our obligation to guard against threats to public health and safety.