marijuanaFrom the Morning Memo:

A measure that would set up an expedited medical marijuana program has been sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for his signature.

Supporters of the legislation hope Cuomo signs the bill, even as a structured medical marijuana program is due to be up and running by the start of next year.

Still, lawmakers who back the expedited medical cannabis measure believe Cuomo should still sign the legislation, given concerns that companies selected to grow and dispense the drug may not be ready by January.

“Hopefully, the system will be up and running on schedule,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried. “However, if problems develop, the bill could provide tools that the Health Department – and some desperately ill patients and their families – will be very grateful to have.”

The Cuomo administration last year had sought a waiver from the U.S. Department of Justice to bring in medical grade marijuana from other states, but the application was denied.

“I have been in discussions with the Cuomo administration about the bill for months and have answered every question raised by the Governor’s staff; I am not aware of any argument against the bill,” Gottfried said.