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Details scarce in Cuomo plan for N.Y. hospitals to dispense medical marijuana

By Jaimy Lee


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided few new details Wednesday about how a medical marijuana program involving 20 of the state's hospitals would operate.

Cuomo had been expected to elaborate on his plans to use existing statutory authority for a little-known state law and establish a program that would allow patients with cancer, glaucoma, and certain other diseases to buy medical marijuana at some New York hospitals.

In limited comments made during his State of the State address, Cuomo confirmed that the proposal would involve up to 20 hospitals and would also include a pilot program that would evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of a medical marijuana system in New York. The findings of the program will be used to “inform future policy,” Cuomo's office later said.

Officials at the Greater New York Hospital Association said they are hoping to get more information from the governor's office soon. A state health department spokesman referred questions to the governor's office.

Maryland is the only state to enact a medical marijuana law that requires hospitals to serve as the dispensing sites.

The state's academic medical centers can apply to operate investigational programs where patients enroll under a law that went into effect Oct. 1. But none of Maryland's five qualified academic medical centers are participating in the program and state lawmakers have said the law may need to be adjusted because of a lack of participation from providers.

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee

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