This January, New York became the 23rd state to legalize the use of prescription cannabis. For this video, TIME went inside one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries, Vireo Health, which has one of the state’s five licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis.
Unlike other states that have passed medical marijuana legislation, New York prohibits marijuana for smoking. Instead, it allows the drug to be sold in liquid or in oil form, for use in vaporizers, or in capsules that can be taken orally. The program is only for patients with very serious or terminal illnesses, including cancer, HIV or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease. New York is also limiting the number of dispensaries to 20–far fewer than the hundreds in states such as California and Colorado.
Critics say that the small number of dispensaries will restrict patient access to the drug and that New York has gone too far in limiting the types of patients allowed in the program, while state officials say the more restrictive approach will ensure that it remains a medical, and not commercial, market.
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