Spin Cycle

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ALBANY - Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to legalize marijuana for medical use in New York under strict restrictions.

The system wouldn’t allow smoking of marijuana and would restrict use to certain serious diseases and syndromes. Physicians and patients would face criminal penalties for abuse of the system.

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Cuomo would be able to abruptly stop the program if he sees abuse or other problems, based on input from the state Health Department.

“I have the full authority to do it,” Cuomo said under the bill he negotiated with lawmakers.

The measure was almost two decades in the making for Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), but he received a big boost this year. Twenty states already provide medical marijuana and statewide polls this election year have shown broad support. But another key was the frequent protests and personal stories told by people, many in wheelchairs and many of them children, suffering with pain and chronic seizures that could be eased by marijuana.