New York – Medical marijuana is now officially available in New York. The use of cannabis for medical purposes was launched on Thursday as the first eight dispensaries were opened. The substance will be served in various forms, such as tinctures, vapors and concentrates. Smoking medical marijuana is not allowed under state’s law.

Medical marijuana supplies are kept safely out of sight in an underground vault and dispensaries are only allowed to have a 30-day supply.

This is one of New York City’s first medical marijuana dispensaries. There are already 8 dispensaries opened and 12 more are expected to open by the end of the month. Credit: The Daily Chronic

“The launch of the State’s Medical Marijuana Patient Certification and Registration System marks the achievement of another milestone toward providing relief to all New Yorkers who may benefit from medical marijuana,” declared Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “Today’s launch means that qualified patients will soon have access to the treatment they need.”

As part of the Compassionate Care NY program, the state government has issued licenses to five organizations so they can produce and sell medical marijuana through dispensaries. The move comes nearly two years after New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation approving the use of the drug for medical purposes in the state.

Patients can be eligible to obtain medical marijuana from dispensaries only if they have been diagnosed with certain severe illnesses that are accompanied by a complicating condition. HIV infection or AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal injury with spasticity, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy, and neuropathy are some of the debilitating or life-threatening medical conditions stated in the Compassionate Care NY program.

Some of these illnesses often come with complications that include severe or chronic pain, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, severe nausea, or cachexia or wasting syndrome. Other medical conditions are currently under evaluation to determine if they can be added to the initial list. They include Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, posttraumatic stress disorder and rheumatoid arthritis.

After being diagnosed with any of these conditions, patients must consult their doctor regarding use of medical marijuana as part of their treatment. Doctors must be registered with the Medical Marijuana Program of the health department of New York in order to be allowed to issue medical marijuana certifications, which patients will need to have access to oils, capsules and tinctures made from marijuana extract.

Those physicians who are authorized to issue certifications to their patients must include the approved brand and form of the drug, the dosage, the administration method and limitations on the use of the authorized product made from marijuana.

Critically ill patients who think they may be eligible for the use of medical marijuana must contact the state health department to get a list of physicians who are authorized to issue certification for medical marijuana.

The forms of medical marijuana allowed by New York’s law include oral capsules, liquids and oil that is meant to be vaporized or administrated by using an inhaler. It is important to keep in mind that any form of medical marijuana must be authorized by the health commissioner.

New York has joined Washington and 22 other states that have approved the use of marijuana to treat critically ill patients. Academic and medical researchers say that the restrictive approach of dispensing medical marijuana allows them to carry out more extensive research regarding the efficacy of the drug as part of medical treatments.

Find information on how to register with the Medical Marijuana Program here

Source: New York State