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NY’s Medical Marijuana Program Is About To Get Better

The Department of Health just announced the issuance of new proposed regulations that would make changes to the NY’s medical marijuana program to improve access. Among other things, they would reduce some of the onerous security requirements for registered organizations, shorten the length of the medical marijuana course certifying practitioners must take from four hours to two, and allow additional types of medical marijuana products to be sold.

“This is yet another positive step forward for New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “These regulations will continue to improve the program in several ways, including making new forms of medical marijuana available and improving the dispensing facility experience.”

New York’s medical marijuana program has been criticized by the Marijuana Policy Project and patient advocates as unnecessarily restrictive, and initial patient registration numbers were very low compared to other state medical marijuana programs. The Department of Health has made several changes to the program since it issued a report in August 2016, including adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition and allowing registered nurses and physician’s assistants to recommended medical marijuana.

The proposed regulatory changes can be viewed here.

Lawmakers have also been working to improve the medical marijuana program this session. In June, the Legislature passed a bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition. Gov. Andrew Cuomo must still sign the bill in order for it to become law.

As of August8, 2017, there were 26,561 certified patients and 1,155 registered practitioners participating in the state program. The number of certified patients has increased by 11,569 (77 percent) since the addition of chronic pain in late March.

For more information on New York’s Medical Marijuana Program, go here.


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