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Cuomo Signs Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks after signing a bill to establish a medical marijuana program for New York State. Video Credit: nysgov
Gov. Cuomo signs the bill to establish comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Gov. Cuomo signs the bill to establish comprehensive medical marijuana program. Photo Credit: criminaljusticeny.gov

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that will establish a medical marijuana program in Westchester County and throughout New York State on Monday.

“This new law takes an important step toward bringing relief to patients living with extraordinary pain and illness,” Cuomo said in a statement. “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. I applaud the lawmakers and advocates whose efforts over the past years were crucial in making medical marijuana a reality in New York State.”

To ensure medical marijuana is available only to patients with serious conditions who can most benefit from the treatment, the law establishes a certification and registry process for physicians to administer the drug.

To be prescribed medical marijuana, a patient must receive a certification from a licensed practitioner who must register with the Department of Health and be qualified to treat the serious condition for which the patient is seeking treatment.

The conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, or as added by the Department of Health commissioner.

To ensure medical marijuana is in the hands of only individuals in need and their health care provider, Registry Identification Cards will be issued by DOH to certified patients.

The card will contain any recommendation or limitation on form or dosage imposed by the practitioner as well as other information. The department will be able to suspend or revoke the card of a patient who willfully violates any provision of the new law.

The law puts in place a seven-percent excise tax on every sale of medical marijuana by a registered organization to a certified patient or designated caregiver. Proceeds from the excise tax will be allocated as follows: 22.5 percent to the county in New York state in which the medical marijuana was manufactured; 22.5 percent to the county in New York state in which the medical marijuana was dispensed; 5 percent to the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to be used for additional drug abuse prevention, counseling and treatment services; and five percent to the Division of Criminal Justice Services to support law enforcement measures related to this law.