Speed Reads

Almost legal

New York lawmakers agree to a deal on medical marijuana

On Thursday night, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and state legislative leaders announced that doctors will soon be able to prescribe medical marijuana — in non-smokable forms — for patients with serious illnesses like AIDS, epilepsy, and cancer.

The bill is expected to be voted on sometime on Friday, The Associated Press reports. "Medical marijuana has the capacity to do a lot of good for a lot of people who are in pain, who are suffering and are in desperate need of a treatment that can provide relief," Cuomo said during a news conference.

Cuomo pushed for the ban on smoking pot because he believed it wasn't something the state should promote. That was fine by the bill's sponsor, Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat. "In the end you have to balance the needs of many of the patients, and the truth is we're coming to a point where less and less people smoke... anyway," she said.

The marijuana, or at least its active ingredients, will be available in an oil base or via a vaporizer. Doctors will have to undergo training in order to write prescriptions, and insurance companies will not have to cover any costs. The program could start in as soon 18 months.