New York's MMJ Program Slowly Develops

Governor Cuomo recently signed a bill to expedite the process of creating an emergency medical marijuana program in the state of New York. While patients and parents of sick children may be relieved, they may be even more excited if the states medical marijuana program launches in January 2016. That is if four ramifications are accomplished.

Doctors will have to be certified by the state before prescribing cannabis extracts that are permitted by the state’s medical-marijuana law.  There are 20 dispensaries allowed by the law in the state, and they will have to open as well as have an adequate supply of medicine, which has yet to be clarified as to what is allowed and what's not. Patients will also have to register with the state and show they have been approved by a doctor. 

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The state Department of Health has authorized five production facilities and 20 dispensaries.  Vireo Health, a company that will be running dispensaries in Queens, White Plains, and the suburbs of Albany and Binghamton, stated they had their first harvest today. 

New York's medical marijuana program is the most restrictive in the country. MMJ patients in the state will consist of those suffering from 10 “severe, debilitating, or life-threatening conditions”: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, and Huntington's disease. The program restricts smoking of cannabis - whether smoking or vaping. Instead, dispensaries will be allowed to sell "up to five brands of medical marijuana product."

Of the 20 dispensaries, four will be in New York City: one in the Bronx, one in Elmhurst, Queens, and two in Manhattan, on East 14th Street and in Murray Hill. Three each in the Albany and Syracuse areas, two in Westchester County, the Buffalo area, and on Long Island (one in Nassau County, one in Suffolk), as well as one each in Kingston, the Rochester area, the Binghamton suburb of Johnson City, and Plattsburgh, near the Canadian border.