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Medical marijuana dispensary decision expected today

The state Health Department announced its selection on

The state Health Department announced its selection on Friday, July 31, 2015, of five companies to run medical marijuana operations across New York, completing a major step in the launch of the new medical treatment program. Credit: AP

ALBANY - State officials are expected to announce Friday the five companies selected to run medical marijuana manufacturing and distribution operations across New York.

The Cuomo administration has said a decision would be made by the end of July.

Forty-three companies have applied for the lucrative licenses, including six with Long Island ties.

The program is supposed to begin serving patients by Jan. 5 or when the system is certified by the state commissioner of health and superintendent of State Police.

Eligible patients include those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington's disease, wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.

The eligibility list may be expanded in the future.

Patients will be allowed to get prescriptions to obtain forms of the drug that are edible or vaporized, but not smoked.

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