OYSTER BAY - A movement to increase access to medical marijuana by allowing more health practitioners to prescribe it is gaining traction among lawmakers and state officials.

Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci is among the state lawmakers who support expanding access. He says the dispensaries in Riverhead and Lake Success are so far apart that it makes access difficult for people who live in the middle of Long Island.

"They are basically at two geographical extremes, one further west and one further east," Lupinacci says. "Maybe, to help with accessibility, there should be one located in the mid-point of Long Island."

And the state Department of Health released a report earlier this month that recommended doubling up the number of dispensaries around New York and allowing nurse practitioners to prescribe the drug.

Lupinacci says a bill passed the state Assembly last year that would allow nurse practitioners and physician's assistants to prescribe medical marijuana, but it failed to pass in the Senate.

Medicinally, patients say the drug is used to treat a range of ailments from Crohn's disease to chronic pain and even autism.