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New York State Legalizes Medical Marijuana

by Stephanie Colombini
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Stephanie Colombini, WFUV

New York Governor Cuomo signed legislation today that legalizes a medical marijuana program in the state.

Medical marijuana's been proven in cases to help patients with serious illnesses like cancer, glaucoma, and epilepsy. 

10-year old Amanda Houser has struggled with a rare form of epilepsy that causes her to have seizures daily.  Her mother Maryanne says they were considering moving to another state so they'd have access to marijuana to help prevent her seizures. She says New York's program is giving them hope for the future. 

"Hope that Amanda will have an easier life, free to learn, play, and live without being constantly bound by her disease," she said.

Governor Cuomo says the state passed the bill to give patients like Amanda the medical care she needs.  But it wasn't an easy journey in the legislature. 

The Governor held out until the very end of the legislative session in June on approving the bill.  He wanted to ensure certain requirements were included like a no-smoking ban, harsh penalties for abuse, and a program killswitch.

"We have the medical benefits of marijuana," he said.  "We also have public safety and public health concerns that are addressed."

The Governor says the new program will take about 18 months before doctors can begin prescribing medical marijuana.

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