New York Restricts MMJ Access

New York became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana over 9 months ago but still, New Yorkers are predicted to face difficulty when trying to apply for a medical marijuana card.  Being that the Big Apple has seemed to be a trendsetter for the rest of the nation, if a medical marijuana program becomes law, the chances of the rest of the country legalizing will go up.  The day is slowly but surely sneaking up on us that the NYS Health Department will issue final regulations about the new program however, many New Yorkers are concerned about their ability to be able to apply for and receive an MMJ card.

The state will only qualify 10 conditions as worthy of receiving medical marijuana treatment when prescribed by a physician.  Cannabis will not be allowed to be smoked in the state and there will only allow five organizations to open 20 dispensaries statewide.  To make the law even more strict, there will only be 5 "brands" of marijuana that will be allowed to be distributed in New York.  The regulations even stipulate that brand names cannot be “coined or fanciful, and may not include any ‘street,’ slang or other name.”

Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat stated that the law is, "a long list of senseless burdensome restrictions on patients and organizations.  There are people from very, very young children to very elderly New Yorkers who are going to continue to suffer unnecessarily."  New Yorkers have been voicing their concerns about the restrictions of the new bill, saying that nearly half the of states in our country have already allowed using marijuana medically.  California is the first state to do so and has allowed medical marijuana use for almost two decades.

There are many New Yorkers with different ailments who would like to try medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription medication.  Still, the law restricts medical marijuana to those who suffer from, "Cancer, HIV/AIDs, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, or as added by the commissioner by DOH."