Patients and their caregivers plan to gather outside Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office to plead for early access to medical marijuana.

The governor signed legislation a year ago authorizing medical marijuana in the state, but the program is still months from beginning.

Patients and their families say they will meet outside Cuomo's New York offices on Tuesday to encourage him to sign legislation that would make the drug available immediately to patients with certain health conditions.

Supporters of the bill say medical marijuana otherwise won't be available until next year when the state's new program is up and running.

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Last year, federal officials denied New York's request to import marijuana from another medical marijuana state to speed up the process.

-- AP