NEW YORK: Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning to revive a 1980 medical-marijuana law to allow some New York hospitals to make use of the drug for patients with cancer, glaucoma and other illnesses.
Cuomo, a Democrat, is expected to make the announcement in his Jan. 8 State of the State address, a person familiar with the speech said. The governor plans to use his executive authority to bypass the legislature where medical marijuana bills passed by the assembly have died in the Republican-controlled Senate.
New York, the third-most-populous state, would join 20 states from California to Massachusetts that allow medical marijuana use, bucking federal law, which still classifies pot as an illegal substance. Cuomo’s decision would fall short of legalizing marijuana entirely, as in Colorado and Washington. Until now, Cuomo has opposed medical marijuana.
“This is a huge turning point,” said Gabriel Sayegh, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who was briefed by the Cuomo administration on the plan yesterday. “One of the most powerful and prominent governors in the country not only changed his mind, but has also said he’s not going to wait around for the Senate to act.”