New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, after years of tiptoeing around the issue, plans to authorize 20 hospitals around the state to dispense cannabis for medical uses. It’s a long way from Colorado–or even State Senator Liz Krueger’s plan for legalization in New York–but it’s a good start, and means that countless suffering New Yorkers will be able to get legal treatment for their ailments.

Cuomo will announce the plan, which will be enacted through executive power, in Wednesday’s State of the State speech, according to the New York TimesIt’s unclear who would qualify for a prescription, though an administration official said patients with M.S., severe pediatric illnesses, cancer in remission would probably be clear, as well as terminally ill patients and those with glaucoma.

Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance called the Cuomo plan “an excellent development,” pending regulations aren’t too strict. “It’s not clear it’s going to be viable for many of the patients we have in the state,” he said.

(Photo: Nickel Bag of Funk/Flickr)