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NYC Hosts Medical Marijuana Expo As State Ramps Up For Legalization

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York state lawmakers and advocates of medical marijuana gathered in New York City on Sunday to discuss the implementation of a new state law authorizing medical marijuana.

The event drew potential patients, policymakers and hundreds of people interested in working in the new medical marijuana industry. State lawmakers voted this year to make New York the 23rd state to authorize pot for patients with conditions including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy.

But the program isn't likely to be up and running before 2016 as regulators work out the details. Drug suppliers and businesses that provide ventilation, lighting, security or other services related to cultivation attended this weekend's Marijuana Regulatory Summit to learn about the new law, said Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island.

NYC Hosts Medical Marijuana Expo As State Ramps Up For Legalization

It is "the early stages of what is going to be not just a public health policy shift for New York state, but the creation of a new and emerging industry,"Savino, D-Staten Island/Brooklyn, told WCBS 880's Jim Smith.

Savino said the industry will give the state with a financial boost.

"Medical marijuana could provide hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue into the state of New York," she said.

Only five manufacturers and 20 dispensaries will be allowed at first. But Savino said there is a whole range of support businesses with new opportunities, from security to heating, ventilating and air conditioning.

The law will not permit users to smoke the drug. It could be administered through a vaporizer or in an oil base. Marijuana could be prescribed for 10 diseases.

It requires physicians to register and get a few hours of training to prescribe the drug for patients with listed conditions, while establishing a new felony for doctors who knowingly give it to others. Patients are prohibited from sharing.

The state recently requested federal permission to import out-of-state marijuana so children and young adults with epilepsy won't have to wait for the state to finalize its regulations.

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