NY to Give the Critically Ill Faster Access to Medical Pot

ALBANY (AP) -

New York will give patients with certain serious illnesses faster access to medical marijuana under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while the state works out the details of its full medical cannabis program.

The measure will create an expedited approval process for people facing degenerative diseases and those who further face the risk of death or serious harm without the drug. New York’s wider medical marijuana program is expected to be operational in January — a full 18 months after lawmakers approved it.

People with terminal cancers, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s and the parents of children with severe epilepsy have long sought early access, arguing that critically ill individuals shouldn’t have to wait any longer.