Medical marijuana coming to NYS as treatment for some illnesses

Governor Andrew Cuomo, top lawmakers along with the State Health Commissioner and others revealed an agreement on a new law to bring medical marijuana to New York State.

A vote on the legislation is expected Thursday night.

"Smoking the drug will be off limits, and that is something that makes me more comfortable with this decision," Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany Thursday afternoon. Oils and vapor will be the main methods of delivery to patients, according to the agreement. The drug would be administered by doctors under the direction of the State Health Department.

The new law also establishes new crimes for abusing medical marijuana. In one instance, patients can face up to one year in prison if they illegally trade their drugs.

Christine Carroll has epilepsy and currently uses marijuana to cope with her seizures. She says legalized marijuana for epilepsy will help her and her family in Liverpool.

"It takes away my seizures. I'm not the doctor who can give you the medical answers for what it really does inside my brain, but I just know that it stops all the activity," says Carroll. "I'm worried about my children being taken from me and saying that woman does drugs. You know I don't want that, I love my children. This is about living, this is about peace."

While Carroll is happy to see this medical marijuana agreement, she says this could go further to include more people with different diseases and illnesses.

"I know that chronic pain isn't added, so there are some people that are left out, so that's kind of a shame," says Carroll.

At this point, the State Health Department says the medical marijuana legislation will cover patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), Parkinson's, some cancers, epilepsy, neuropathy and HIV-AIDS. Other illnesses and diseases may be added in the future.

The program won't start for at least 18 months, with five regulated organizations allowed to grow the drug in New York and operate four dispensaries each.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this article)