STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — With medical marijuana now signed into law in New York state, there’s plenty to know about the Compassionate Care Act before it is rolled out.
1. When will medical marijuana be available for New Yorkers?
The state’s medical marijuana program won’t be off the ground for at least 18 months as state officials decide on specifics, such as distributing licenses and where to place dispensaries.
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo want the state to move more quickly to get medical marijuana to children with seizure disorders before the 18 month deadline.
2. Who qualifies for medical marijuana and how?
In order to be prescribed medical marijuana, a patient must receive a certification from a licensed and qualified practitioner who must register with the Department of Health.
Registry Identification Cards will be issued by DOH to certified patients. The governor’s office says this is to help ensure that the medical marijuana doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
Health insurers would not be required to provide coverage for medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana will be available for a host of serious conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (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.
3. Can patients smoke medical marijuana?
No. The drug would be available only through alternative forms, such as edibles, oils and vaporizers.
The forms of medical marijuana will be determined by the state health commissioner, and any form of medical marijuana not approved by the commissioner will be prohibited, according to the bill.
4. Where will medical marijuana dispensaries be placed?
Five regulated manufacturers would be selected to grow the product in the state, with each able to operate four dispensaries. Medical marijuana can only be distributed through licensed dispensaries though exact locations have not yet been determined.
5. How will medical marijuana be regulated?
The Compassionate Care Act uses a “seed to sale” model of security controls to help ensure the drug is used only for medicinal purposes by patients in need. As part of this model, there will be a tracking system so that regulators have the ability to locate the plant at any point in the process.
Medical Marijuana Memo
Medical Marijuana Bill
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