New York State Department of Health

(AP Photo/Jennifer Peltz)

New York State’s legal medical marijuana program has begun. Eight new dispensaries are opening around the state this week, and two are expected to open on Long Island later this month. Many doctors still aren’t eligible to prescribe marijuana to their patients.

In order to prescribe medical marijuana, doctors need to pay $249 to take a four-and-a-half hour course online from a private company called TheAnswerPage. Then, when they’re done, they have to register themselves with the state.

A health policy group has given New York's Department of Health a mostly glowing review of its rollout of the new health insurance exchange program.  But the group is worried the department hasn’t completely figured out the systems for paying doctors and hospitals.

AP Photo/Mike Grol

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he may not decide whether the sate should go ahead with hydro-fracking for natural gas until after the November 2014 elections.