Governor Cuomo is expected to announce the limited use of medical marijuana Wednesday. And New York cities and towns could soon look to a neighboring state, Massachusetts, for regulation advice. Time Warner Cable News' reporter Madeleine Rivera has the story.
MASSACHUSETTS -- Governor Cuomo's plan to allow the limited use of medical marijuana has been making headlines. But, if it does come to fruition, the attention may shift from the state to a neighboring city in Massachusetts.
"Here in Massachusetts, it was overwhelmingly approved by the voters," said Mayor Dan Bianchi.
Since voters approved the use of the drug in 2012, Pittsfield city officials have been focused on laying regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. They're offering some advice for NY cities and towns that could see these dispensaries.
"Develop a strong set of zoning laws that will accommodate them, that will make them safe," said Bianchi.
Officials struggled with finding locations where the dispensaries would appropriate and accessible.
"In Pittsfield, we have them restricted away from schools. There can be security around them. They can be restricted in that regard," said Bianchi.
The dispensaries are prohibited from residential areas. The city will also only allow the growth of marijuana if a dispensary is located on the site. Cuomo intends for only 20 hospitals across the state to prescribe the drug. He's not yet outlined how these hospitals will administer the drug or if they'll grow it.
"It's a significant hurdle," said Nial DeMena, Director of Operations at Manna Wellness. They're waiting for an approval from the state for medical marijuana dispensary license. He understands not everyone is open to the legalization of the drug.
"It really depends on how the community feels about it and whether or not local authorities can convince local authorities that it's a suitable alternative medicine," said DeMena.
Massachusetts is expected announce up to 35 medical marijuana licenses by the end of January.