Cuomo defends state’s medical marijuana program

Packaging for medical marijuana is displayed at Vireo Health of New York, a dispensary in White Plains, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jennifer Peltz)
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ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday recognized that the state’s slow moving medical marijuana program is not “perfect,” but said he’d rather err on the side of caution than move it along too quickly.

Eighteen months after signing the Compassionate Care Act into law, the state’s medical marijuana plan went into effect last month.

Advocates, who have long complained that the program is to restrictive, say that the lethargic roll out has resulted in large geographical areas not being served and have look to expand the program.

At a press conference in Dunkirk, Cuomo defended the program.



“The system just started. We moved very quickly The system is up. It's working. Most accounts are it's working well,” Cuomo told reporters. “Is it perfect? No. But you also have to remember, you're dispensing marijuana and you've got to be careful, and I'd rather be a little bit more careful then have the reverse situation where we were a little reckless and there are now holes in the system and people who are getting marijuana shouldn't be getting marijuana.”

As POLITICO New York has previously reported, companies that were awarded licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana to severely ill people say that the program’s slow roll out was expected.