New York is moving to expand its fledgling medical marijuana program.
State health officials announced recently that nurse practitioners will soon be able to authorize the drug for patients. The state also plans to gradually increase the number of allowed dispensaries to as many as 40. Officials are also weighing proposals to make chronic pain an eligible condition.
Many patients have praised the changes, which they say will help patients get access. Some critics of the state's cautious approach, however, say the steps are overdue and don't go far enough.
Under the law, patients with a qualifying condition must get permission from a doctor who has registered with the program. Marijuana is only available in non-smokeable form.
Twenty-five states and Washington D.C. now allow medical marijuana.