Cuomo will announce his support for medical marijuana in his state of the state address this week. Harry Scull Jr./The Buffalo News/AP The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition Gov. Andrew Cuomo who in the past had opposed medical marijuana reportedly will announce his support in his State of the State address this week. As first reported by the New York Times, Gov. Cuomos plan will be more restrictive than other states permitting medical marijuana use for minor ailments, allowing 20 hospitals across the state to prescribe marijuana to patients with cancer, glaucoma or other diseases that meet standards to be set by the New York State Department of Health. RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about marijuana? Take the quiz Cuomo, who is up for re-election this year, no doubt is aware of polling which shows that 82 percent of New Yorkers approve of medical marijuana. Bills allowing such use the Compassionate Care Act have passed the Democratically-controlled state Assembly, but stalled in the Republican-led state Senate. While that may change at Cuomos urging, the Governor intends to use executive powers under a 1980 law allowing the state health commissioner to approve controlled substances for patients with certain diseases. The move represents an important shift for Cuomo, reflecting public opinion. I do not support medical marijuana. I understand the pros and cons. I understand the argument, the Democratic governor told reporters last April. We are looking at it, but at this point, I dont support medical marijuana. Cuomos change in position is welcomed by advocates of marijuana use as a medicinal treatment. The move by Governor Cuomo is likely to have a constructive, transformative impact on the medical marijuana debate in Albany and across the country, the Drug Policy Alliance said in a statement.