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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo emphasized the strict limitations of his plan Monday to loosen the state’s prohibition on marijuana for medical use -- in comments that tamped down rather than fanned the nationwide applause from liberals he received over the move.
Unlike measures in some states to legalize marijuana or to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use, Cuomo plans to use his administrative powers to allow just 20 hospitals to prescribe marijuana and only for the most serious illnesses.
“This is a state taking under state control a limited program through the Department of Health . . . to see if it can be done without the ancillary problems,” Cuomo said.
“It does not start with the premise that this is a slam dunk, [that] we can do it,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo’s proposal released during the weekend drew headlines nationwide and support from Democrats. Cuomo is running for re-election this year and some of his supporters say he should seek a presidential run in 2016.
Advocates for medicinal marijuana use called Cuomo's plan an "interim step" and said the state Legislature should enact a more wide-ranging program.
Cuomo said bypassing the Legislature and working within his administration gave him "great comfort because if something goes bad, I can correct" it without waiting for corrective legislation.