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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday he will allow some patients with serious illnesses to have access to medical marijuana. He said research suggests medical marijuana can help patients with cancer and other illnesses to manage their pain, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the new rule, only 20 hospitals in the state will be allowed to dispense medical marijuana, following strict guidelines developed by the state’s Department of Health. Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana to be used for certain medical purposes, the article notes.

Governor Cuomo has opposed medical marijuana in New York in the past.

Gabriel Sayegh, State Director of the marijuana advocacy group the Drug Policy Alliance, told the newspaper, “We all understand that it’s not the solution that’s needed but it will ensure that when that law passes the state will already have begun building the infrastructure to get the best care to patients in New York.”

Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who founded Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group that advocates for strict regulation of medical marijuana, said it should be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, not states.

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