ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP)Medical marijuana will likely be available in New York before the end of the year, the state’s health commissioner says.

Dr. Nirav Shah told lawmakers at a hearing Monday that a trial run is intended to examine the drug’s effectiveness in patient treatment, for example with pain in stages of cancer.

He said the goal is to provide evidence of value, not only for New York but for the country.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s medical marijuana plan will be enacted by executive order, not legislation, and will be more restrictive than programs in some other states such as California. It would allow 20 hospitals to dispense marijuana to people suffering from cancer and some other diseases.

Shah said many hospitals have shown interest, the health department plans to establish the trial within the limits of current law, and it will use marijuana provided by the federal government.

Some legislators questioned the need for further study, saying patients are suffering now.

New York will join 21 other states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, that already allow some form of medical marijuana.

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