New York passes restrictive medical marijuana law

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New YorkGov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law July 7 that makes New York the 23rd medical marijuana state. Advocates celebrated a deal struck last month between Cuomo and the state legislature that will protect qualified patients from arrest, prosecution and discrimination, and license up to 20 distribution facilities across the state. The new law empowers the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to license physicians to recommend marijuana to patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and a limited range of other medical conditions. However, the law only allows for products that use an extracted form of cannabis, such as oil or edibles, which are to be produced under a state-licensed manufacturing process. Advocates have voiced concerns over the law's 7% tax, and a prohibition on access to whole-plant cannabis. Advocates also raise concerns over the prohibitive cost for many patients who cannot afford to purchase what would otherwise be an inexpensive medicine to grow. The new law gives the DOH 18 months to establish regulations and will sunset in seven years. (ASA, July 7)

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Good question

Global Ganja Report's picture

From The Villager, Sept. 25:

While hosting "Up Close With Diana Williams," Bill Ritter of Channel 7 "Eyewitness News" recently stated that New York State shouldn't be like California and legalize medical marijuana, so that "anyone with a hangnail can smoke a joint."

Now I don't want to rehash old and established facts like the economic advantages of industrial hemp, the ecological benefits of paper made with hemp hurds, or the fact that marijuana is among the oldest and safest members of the pharmacopeia.

I would, however, like to ask Mr. Ritter just what, exactly, is so terrible about a person with a hangnail smoking a joint?

Jerry the Peddler

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Sep 27th, 2014 at 11:11 pm

NYC medical marijuana push

Bill Weinberg's picture

Veteran activist Dana Beal is leading a push to get New York City to expand the elbow-room for medical marijuana in New York state. From the Village Voice, Sept. 14:

In response to the state's Compassionate Care Act, the group's proposed legislation establishes a “medical marihuana users’ bill of rights” and asks the City Council to support the creation of a “users cooperative.” (The bill uses the state's preferred spelling of "marijuana," which replaces the J with an H.)

“We’re trying to set up a five-borough patients co-op for people with serious maladies, including ones that aren’t on the state list,” says Dana Beal, a longtime cannabis activist and one of about ten contributors to the bill. “The law and the regulations don’t cover people who are [also] legitimate patients. We believe that under home rule, we can extend better availability and better prices to more people."

The law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July 2014, is due to take effect in January. Many have criticized it for being among the most restrictive in the country. It allows only five companies to grow cannabis and to operate twenty dispensaries throughout the state’s 55,000 square miles. The companies can each grow only five particular strains of cannabis (which the state calls “brands”), and prices will be set by the health department. The program covers only ten “severe, debilitating, or life-threatening” conditions, such as AIDS, epilepsy, and cancer, but excludes conditions like glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder, which are known to be treated by medical marijuana in other states. It also bans smoking the plant or ingesting it in the form of edibles. Under the law, medical marijuana products would also not be covered by most insurance plans.

There is some ambiguity on the question of edibles. The New York State law does allow edibles, according to Compassionate Care NY.

A Sept. 11 CNBC report on the imminent opening of the Columbia Care dispensary on 14th Street near Third Avenue in Manhattan states: "To be clear, under New York's medicinal program, approved uses of cannabis include liquid and oil preparations for consumption orally or through a tube. The Compassionate Care Act does not include smoking marijuana as a certified medical use, according to the Department of Health."

The New York State Health Department's own FAQ page on the law states: "The Commissioner of Health must approve any form of medical marijuana. Any form of medical marijuana not approved by the Commissioner is prohibited. Approved forms include liquids and oil for vaporization or administration via inhaler as well as capsules to take orally. Smoking is prohibited."

Comment by Bill Weinberg on Sep 14th, 2015 at 10:45 pm

New York gov signs emergency medical marijuana bills

Global Ganja Report's picture New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two bills on Nov. 11 in order to expedite the distribution of medical marijuana to citizens with critical health conditions. Though statewide medical marijuana distribution will begin in January, the governor and lawmakers acknowledged that at-risk patients may require immediate relief "to avoid suffering and loss of life." Cuomo expressed concern regarding the drug's limited access and supply for those suffering illness. He intends to promote easier access by reducing tight regulations created by the Compassionate Care Act. Cuomo also advised the NY Department of Health to determine the sufficiency of the five distributors and 20 dispensaries currently established to produce and distribute the drug. (Jurist)
Comment by Global Ganja Report on Nov 12th, 2015 at 10:36 pm

NY medical program 'set up to fail'?

Global Ganja Report's picture A week after New York State's medical marijuana program officially opened Jan. 7, it's slowly expanding—but none of the 25 to 30 activist patients who campaigned hardest for it have been able to get any medicine. Even Missy Miller, whose seizure-ravaged teenage son, Oliver, was the poster child for the emergency-access measure Gov. Cuomo signed in November, has been un able to get him enrolled. (Gothamist, Jan. 14)
Comment by Global Ganja Report on Jan 15th, 2016 at 3:07 am

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