ALBANY, N.Y. (July 7, 2014) New York has become the 23rd state in the U.S. to authorize the use of medical marijuana, but the state's program is one of the nation's most restrictive.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law on Saturday and held a formal signing ceremony Monday to highlight the new law.
When the program is in full operation in about 18 months, patients with diseases including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy will be able to obtain non-smokeable versions of the drug, which must either be ingested or administered through a vaporizer or oil base.
Cuomo, a Democrat, says prohibiting smokeable marijuana will help keep the drug out of the wrong hands.
The compromise bill was one of the final measures passed by lawmakers before they adjourned last month.