New York Next to Loosen Marijuana Laws

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New York is in line to become the next state to relax medical marijuana restrictions.

This morning's New York Times reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will use administrative powers, rather than legislative action, to allow 20 hospitals to use marijuana to treat certain medical conditions such as cancer and glaucoma. Marijuana otherwise would remain illegal in the state.

Cuomo is expected to officially announce the action in his State of the State address later this week. Cuomo says he hopes to have the executive action in place sometime this year so that select hospitals may begin dispensing pot for certain patients.

For generations, New York has been one of the most punitive states in the nation for marijuana crackdowns and prison sentencing.

Other states have taken more liberal positions on pot—most notably Colorado, where residents flocked to state-approved retailers on New Year's Day to buy marijuana for recreational purposes. Colorado charges 25 percent sales tax on pot, and is expected to reap tens of millions of dollars of state tax revenues from the move.