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Medical marijuana dispensary tour

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - With New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expected to announce that those with cancer, glaucoma and certain other illnesses will have access to medical marijuana, Fox 5 News went inside a dispensary for a look at how getting the drug to patients works.

Under Cuomo's plan, 20 hospitals across New York State would be able to prescribe it.  The New York Times reports that the state is hoping to be able to dispense the drug sometime this year.

New York would join several states including New Jersey to sell the Cannabis for medicinal purposes. Marijuana - a mixture of dried leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the Cannabis plant- is illegal for recreational use. Most people who use marijuana smoke it in hand-rolled cigars.

At the Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge- one of three dispensaries in New Jersey- heavily armed guards protect the 26,000 square-foot facility.

The temperature is kept at about 70 degrees and rows of marijuana plants are grown under lamps. 

Twenty-five employees work for the not-for-profit which opened in December 2013 and sells six strains of marijuana with more to be cultivated next year, according to David Weisser, Director, Garden State Dispensary. 

The marijuana is sold in bud form as dried plant that can be smoked or vaporized. An ounce sells for approximately $500 and can last on average 1-2 months.

Buyers or patients must be registered with the NJ Dept. of Health and must have a recommendation from a registered doctor; a prescription is not required.

“Once done cultivating we hang the plants… when the patients get it.. they get it in a medicine vial. It is coded and we can track it to the patient,” said Weisser.

The Garden State Dispensary located just south of Newark-Liberty International Airport currently serves approximately 700 patients.

"We need more patients. Most people don't know this exists in the state," said Weisser.

Patients in New York cannot purchase marijuana in New Jersey.

Some of the other qualifying conditions to register for medical marijuana are leukemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Chrons and AIDS.

Medical marijuana has been shown to relieve nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and people with AIDS. It can also alleviate pain associated with these conditions.
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