[JURIST] New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [official profile] signed two bills [materials] on Wednesday in order to expedite the distribution of medical marijuana to citizens with critical health conditions. Though statewide medical marijuana distribution will begin in January, the governor and lawmakers [JURIST reports] acknowledged that at-risk patients may require immediate relief “to avoid suffering and loss of life.” Cuomo expressed concern [NYT report] regarding the drug’s limited access and supply for those suffering illness. He intends to promote easier access by reducing tight regulations created by the Compassionate Care Act [text]. Cuomo also advised the NY Department of Health [official website] to determine the sufficiency of the five distributors and 20 dispensaries currently established to produce and distribute the drug.
The legal use and sale [JURIST backgrounder] of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes has created controversy among a number of states in the US in the past few years. In June the Louisiana House of Representatives approved [JURIST report] a medical marijuana bill to provide a legal way to supply therapeutic marijuana to patients who need it. In May the Pennsylvania Senate approved [JURIST report] a similar medical marijuana bill that would allow medical marijuana products to be grown by licensed cultivation facilities and distributed through state-regulated dispensaries. Also in May Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed [JURIST report] an executive order legalizing medical marijuana. The order referred to several US studies that show the therapeutic use of the plant in treating different medical conditions including pain associated with AIDS, glaucoma, migraines, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases. Garcia Padilla further noted that several US states have already legalized medical marijuana for these uses.