New York is gearing up to join 23 other states that have medical marijuana programs, but New York's effort already appears quite different from what's being done in other states. As health reporter Erin Billups explains, obtaining legal cannabis will be much harder than you might think.
After years of uncontrollable outbursts, Emma Marin was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome when she was 13.
"Basically a tic is like a sneeze, Like you can feel it coming on," she explains. "It would be painful. My abdomen would just crunch up and not let go for a while."
Like many with Tourette's, Marin also struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which made the tics worse and led to anxiety and depression.
At 17, she took a daily a cocktail of a dozen drugs.
"The tics didn't get better. Sometimes it made it worse," recalls Marin.
Desperate, her mother got hold of some marijuana.
"In a matter of like five minutes I calmed down, I was tic free. I didn't feel my obsessions or my compulsions, I just felt, normal," says Marin.
Marin eventually joined advocates fighting for passage of New York's medical marijuana law, but she won't benefit. Tourette's isn't one of the 10 approved conditions allowing patients to obtain the drug.
"Not only do you have to have one of the ten conditions, you have to have functional limitation as a result of that condition. So, it's pretty narrow,"says Julie Netherland, Deputy State Director for the New York Drug Policy Alliance.
Advocates say getting to the 20 planned cannabis dispensaries may also be difficult for some patients. And its's unclear whether insurance will foot the bill for cannabis prescriptions - still considered illegal by Washington.
"The only forms available are these oils and extracts that tend to be more costly to produce and those costs will be passed on to patients," says Netherland.
So the advocates who fought to get the law passed are now fighting to expand it. Now 19, Marin still has tics and OCD, but therapy and medications have reduced the symptoms. Still, sometimes she needs to light a joint.
"I wish I didn't have to do something illegal to get treatment for it. I wish it was just available," says Marin.