New York to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate legally

New York City has signed off on allowing medical marijuana shops to operate, officials said Monday, as state lawmakers debated a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he hopes the legislation will allow medical patients to buy and possess cannabis.

Medical marijuana will be allowed to be sold in stores and dispensaries under a “scheme that recognizes the importance of patients being able to access safe and effective treatment,” de Blasio told reporters after signing the legislation.

The legislation, which was approved by New York’s legislature in May, allows people to buy cannabis oil, vaporizer cartridges, edibles and topical products, with a limit of one ounce a month for medical patients.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-Bronx, said he believes dispensaries will have a long time to prepare.

“I think we’re going to be seeing a long period of time for the state to fully process the paperwork, get ready for the dispensaries to start opening up,” Squadron said.

He added, “It is a long way to go.”

The law allows dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana to anyone 21 or older, and is not designed to allow pot shops to serve the needs of children.