NY Makes Getting Medical Marijuana Much Easier

Getting medical marijuana in New York is much easier now that the state has authorized an expansion of its newly-created program. Criticized as being among the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation when it was launched nine months ago, the state has changed the program to make access easier for patients.

The biggest proposed change is to allow nurse practitioners to prescribe marijuana. This would provide help provide access for the many patients who live in the 17 counties in Upstate New York where there are currently no doctors who prescribe medical marijuana. This aspect of the expansion will still take some time as it first has to be added to the New York Register on September 14, then wait out a 45-day public comment period.

Other aspects of the expansion include a provision that will allow home delivery of medical marijuana, a waiver for low-income patients on the $50 state fee to register for a medical marijuana card, and the approval of five additional medical marijuana growers in the state. The process of approving additional growers is expected to take two years.

In addition to the expansions listed above, there is a proposal in the works to add more conditions to the short list of those approved for medical marijuana in New York. Only 10 conditions are currently included, each of which must be accompanied by a complication such as wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or persistent muscle spasms. Chronic intractable pain might make the cut, but the state Health Department will take 90 days to deliberate on any additions to the list.

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