New York State Senator Diane J. Savino (D) on Wednesday urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to follow the example of New Jersey and allow marijuana to be prescribed to the seriously ill.


New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday that he would lift his suspension on implementing the state’s medical-marijuana program.

"New Jersey showed real compassion for Garden State residents who suffer from painful, debilitating and life-threatening illnesses," Savino said in a letter to Cuomo.

"New York needs to follow their example and pass legislation to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana when no other option is available."

She lost both her parents to cancer, and noted in her letter that studies have found marijuana can alleviate pain and other symptoms of diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis in some patients who are unresponsive to other medication.

Savino has cosponsored legislation with with Sen. Thomas Duane (D) and Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D) that would legalize medical marijuana in New York for seriously ill patients. Patients would have to register with the state Health Department and would only be permitted to have 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time.

Cuomo opposed medical marijuana while campaigning for governor. On Wednesday he said he was "reviewing" medical marijuana legislation and "talking to both sides of the issue."