New York set to legalise cannabis for medical use

New York is set to become the 21st American state to legalise cannabis for medical purposes. Credit: Press Association

New York - the state that's long been one of America's most punitive for those caught using or dealing drugs could make a significant step towards policies embraced by cannabis advocates today.

The Governor, Andrew Cuomo, is expected to announce an executive action that will allow the limited use of medical marijuana in the state. Under the plans, just 20 hospitals across New York will be able to prescribe the drug, which will only be available to patients with serious illnesses like cancer or glaucoma.

This is unlike in California where patients suffering from backache or anxiety can be prescribed it. If the proposals go ahead, New York will become the 21st state to legalise cannabis for medicinal use, and the announcement comes as others take increasingly liberal positions over use of the drug.

In Colorado, since 1st January, people have been able to buy cannabis legally for recreational use.