ALBANY, N.Y. – Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to make medical marijuana legal in New York State.
The issue of medical marijuana passed in the Assembly but failed in the Senate. Cuomo was previously opposed to medical marijuana, but plans to use his administrative powers and bypass the legislature and sign an executive order.
According to a report first published in the New York Times, Cuomo will announce his plans during the State of the State address Wednesday.
The Drug Policy Alliance said the governor plans to create an interim medical marijuana program involving 20 hospitals statewide. The selected hospitals will be allowed to distribute medical marijuana to patients who meet a list of qualifications.
Nancy Rivera is an advocate for Compassionate Care NY in Troy and has been battling cancer for 20 years.
Rivera is a survivor of breast, throat and colon cancer but the side effects of treatment remain. She believes medical marijuana may help.
"It would have helped me deal with the nausea and the dry heaving and the situations that cause me to have so much weight loss," she said.
Rivera said medical growers could make marijuana strains specific to certain symptoms unlike a street-quality drug.
"The oils work well," she said. "Other people need pain killers, and they would be able to benefit from the higher THC value."
Many New York residents are divided on the legalization of medical marijuana, but Rivera said legalization is the miracle she and the thousands of people she represents at Compassionate Care NY have been waiting for.
"I'll take it over the Valium and the Compazine and the Cisplatin that I took that put me in stage three kidney disease," she said.
Legalization of medical marijuana would make New York the 21st state to allow medicinal use of marijuana but will be more restrictive than other states such as California and Colorado.