The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System has joined forces with a Colorado-based medical cannabis operation to apply to the state for a medical marijuana license.

Friday was the deadline to apply to the state Department of Health for one of five licenses to dispense medical marijuana.

The licenses are expected to be awarded in July, with the program slated to start in January. Each licensee would be allowed to open up to four dispensaries.

A Health Department spokesman said the names of all bidders will be released after they are logged, which will be early next week.

North Shore-LIJ, the state's largest health system, announced Friday it had formed a new corporation called Silverpeak NY LLC with Silverpeak Apothecary, an Aspen-based company that manages a cannabis operation.

Silverpeak Apothecary was founded in 2009 as a medical marijuana provider. With Colorado's 2013 legalization of recreational pot, the company has expanded its operation.

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Health system spokesman Terry Lynam said the new company would work with researchers at North Shore-LIJ's Feinstein Institute for Medical Research to study the effectiveness of medical marijuana in reducing the symptoms of a range of diseases.

"Our feeling is that we treat millions of patients a year and we believe we have an obligation to offer alternative treatments that could potentially help patients," he said.

Lynam said it hadn't been decided where dispensaries might be located.

At least one other Long Island-based company has also applied for a license, PalliaTech of Sea Cliff. It has proposed dispensaries in Brooklyn, Newburgh, Rochester and Utica.

Empire State Compassionate Care, owned by the principals of the largest medical marijuana distributor in New Jersey, Garden State Dispensary, is also seeking a license. One of its four proposed dispensaries would be in Hempstead, it announced.

Other companies that announced they have applied include Valley Agriceuticals, based in Purchase, and Far(m)ed New York, based in Buffalo.

New York is one of 23 states and Washington, D.C., that have approved use of medical marijuana.