By DAVID KLEPPER
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ America’s medical marijuana industry has come a long way from its beginnings 20 years ago.
Entrepreneurs, physicians and well-heeled investors are now getting into the business as New York works toward becoming the latest state to authorize cannabis for conditions like cancer, epilepsy and AIDS.
State health officials on Friday announced five companies that will grow and dispense the medication when the program begins next year. They include three organizations with experience in other states.
Each one will operate one greenhouse facility and four dispensaries located throughout the state.
The marijuana itself will be required to be in non-smokable form, such as oils that can be ingested or vaporized.
State officials say the goal is a system that prevents abuse while giving patients the most modern medical marijuana treatments.