Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried said Tuesday that he’s working with the Cuomo administration to try to get medical marijuana to seriously ill patients even faster.

The state is scheduled provide medical marijuana through 20 dispensaries statewide in January. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week signed the Legislature’s “emergency medical marijuana” bill. It is designed to speed the process and likely expand the system by eventually allowing more manufacturers already working in other states to come to New York to distribute the prescription medication.

On Tuesday Gottfried (D-Manhattan) said he is working with the Cuomo administration to try further speed distribution. He hopes to implement elements of the emergency bill including the use of more manufacturers, which could expand access to the medication.

“The Health Department is confident they will be operating in mid-January,” Gottfried said in an interview. “I’ve been exploring a couple of ideas with the executive branch to speed that up.”

The longtime sponsor of medical marijuana bills was in Albany as part of the Democratic majority's planning meeting for the legislation session beginning in January.