ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Qualified New Yorkers can now enroll in the state's upcoming medical marijuana program online.
The New York State Department of Health launched its Medical Marijuana Patient Certification and Registration Program on Wednesday, allowing for patients qualified to receive the drug to enroll in the program before it officially rolls out in January 2016.
Those who sign up for the program must first receive a DOH Medical Marijuana Program certification from a registered doctor before applying for a registry identification card. Applicants must also have a form of photo ID and be able to prove they live in New York State.
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted the Compassionate Care Act, the state's proposed medical marijuana program, in July 2014. In November 2015, Cuomo approved speeding up the process to allow for the program to start providing patients access to medical marijuana in January 2016.
The program allows for patients with severe or chronic illnesses to receive medical marijuana that can be ingested or vaporized. Smokeable forms of the drug are not provided under New York State law.
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The list of approved illnesses designated to receive medical marijuana treatment under the law are patients with Parkinson's Disease, cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, certain spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington's Disease.
Some advocates have called for an expansion of the legislation to include a broader spectrum of illnesses.
Five dispensaries across New York State have been chosen to grow the plant for medical use. As WCBS 880 reported in July, each company will grow the pot in one location and then sell it at four other locations. Bloomfield Industries, one of the chosen companies, plans to cultivate its marijuana plants in Queens.
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