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New York Looks to Lighten Up Pot Laws

Cuomo will OK limited medical marijuana; 21st state to allow it
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2014 11:17 AM CST

(Newser) – Not to be outdone by the kids out in Colorado, New York state is getting around to revisiting its draconian marijuana laws. As the New York Times reports, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to take executive action this week that would legalize medical marijuana. It being New York, the move comes tightly regulated: Prescriptions will come vis a vis only 20 hospitals in the state and will be written according to Department of Health standards for serious health issues like glaucoma and cancer—meaning your "back ache" isn't going to cut it.

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The gambit is interesting politically, notes the Times: Cuomo, who holds much in common with conservatives and has long resisted allowing medical marijuana, is looking to burnish his progressive cred with an eye on the 2016 presidential race. (His past efforts in that vein have resulted in New York legalizing gay marriage and passing tough gun laws.) It's also a savvy move as Cuomo faces re-election this year: 82% of New Yorkers support medical marijuana. (Read more New York stories.)

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