New York Medical Marijuana Patients
Long Story Short
The New York Medical Marijuana Program is set to expand, making home deliveries accessible to New York Medical Marijuana patients. This addition to the state marijuana laws will allow nurse practitioners to obtain and transport marijuana to patients who are unable to leave their home. Since New York opened its first dispensary doors last year, there have been 7,000 patients who registered with the program and got approved for treatment.
Inaccessibility of Medical Marijuana in New York
Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has been looking for ways to improve the program since it launched.
“Since launching the program, the Department has worked closely with doctors, patients and registered organizations to gather information relevant to strengthening the program in anticipation of the required two-year report,” Zucker said.
The New York Department of Health recommended New York’s laws be updated to make medical marijuana more accessible to patients who need it. This was in a report they issued that had experts claiming the New York Medical Marijuana Program was one of the most limiting programs in the United States. New Yorkers had been complaining about the limitations of the medical marijuana program and it looks like the state is beginning to listen to the people.
“A lot of the recommendations that the Department of Health made are things the patients have been asking for a year and a half,” said Kassandra Frederique, state director of the New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance.
According to Alphonso David, counsel to New York’s governor, the program was originally designed to change and grow with the people’s needs. He believes that loosening restrictions would only help New Yorkers in need of medical treatment.
“This is enhancing the program so that we meet patient need and patient access,” he said.
Since many doctors are still afraid of recommending marijuana due to its illegal status, nurse practitioners having the ability to authorize medical cannabis should make up for lack of physicians participating in the program.
Another issue with the program that’s limiting patients access to medical marijuana is the lack of dispensaries. The Health Department has only granted five companies the ability to dispense medical marijuana. As a part of the coming updates to New Yorks medical marijuana regulations, the state is looking to double the number of dispensaries in NY. Each of the ten companies would be able to open four different dispensaries. New York is a large state, and this updated regulation would allow up to 40 dispensaries to be opened around the state.
Some patients with debilitating conditions who can’t work have difficulty paying for their medical marijuana making it pretty inaccessible to them. The program might soon offer waivers for those suffering financially. The program is responding to the inaccessibility issues pointed out by New York MMJ patients.
The Final Hit
Overall, marijuana advocates are happy to see these updates to the New York medical marijuana program. There has been no update to the ban of marijuana in its flower form in NY. Patients who have difficulty moving will soon be able to have marijuana sprays, tinctures, and oils delivered to their doors.