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Daily News – Assembly health chief wants to increase medical marijuana availability

By Glenn Blain, May 15

ALBANY — The head of the Assembly’s Health Committee wants to greatly expand the places New Yorkers can get medical marijuana — and let them smoke it.

Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) introduced legislation this week that would overhaul the state’s fledgling medical pot program to allow a virtually unlimited number of dispensaries.

The current law, adopted last year, allows only a maximum of 20 dispensaries across the state.

Gottfried’s bill would also enable patients to smoke marijuana, which is prohibited under the existing law.

“It is excessively restrictive in ways that will make it almost impossible for the law to be implemented and will certainly restrict patient access without justification,” Gottfried said.

Gottfried’s bill, however, is not finding favor with Gov. Cuomo, who pushed for tight restrictions on New York’s program.

“The governor wants to ensure those in pain get the care that they need and changing the rules before the program is up and running would bring everything back to square one,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.