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New York lawmakers agree on medical marijuana

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By JOSEFA VELASQUEZ
Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York leaders have reached an agreement to make the state the 23rd to legalize medical marijuana.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Thursday the drug will be for severely ill patients.

The drug would be administered by doctors under the direction of the state's health department.

The "Compassionate Care Act" negotiated by Cuomo and lawmakers doesn't allow the drug to be sold in plant form or smoked - one of Cuomo's key demands. It can be administered through an oil-base or vaporizer.

A vote is expected Thursday night.

Sen. Diane Savino, one of the bill sponsors, says marijuana can be prescribed for at least six diseases, including epilepsy, AIDS, ALS and neuropathy.

Five regulated organizations will be allowed to grow the drug in the state and operate four dispensaries each.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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