New York finally joins 22 other states and Washington DC in authorizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Following the signing of the Compassionate Care NY program in 2014, the first eight dispensaries in the state opened last Thursday, offering cannabis products like concentrates, tinctures, and vapors.
However, unlike other states that have already adopted comprehensive medicinal marijuana regulations, New York maintains its restrictive approach in dispensing the drug. Patients looking to obtain medical weed have to pass through multiple layers of security in various dispensaries before they meet their assigned pharmacist. Furthermore, supplies of medical pot are kept in an underground vault, safely out of sight.
Many academics and researchers are supportive of New York’s restrictive approach since it favors a more extensive research climate. “They’re trying to put the medical back in medical marijuana and not make it the farce that it has become in some states,” said Edward Bednarczyk from the State University of New York.
To qualify for medical marijuana certification, patients should be diagnosed with specific debilitating or life-threatening illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. These should also be accompanied by a complicating condition like severe chronic pain, seizures, and wasting. Patients should see their licensed physician registered with the Medical Marijuana Program of New York’s health department to obtain certification.
Authorized dispensaries are only allowed to serve two types of medical marijuana: one with an equal ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD), and one with a higher CBD content than THC. Patients should only be given a 30-day supply of cannabis. Furthermore, only marijuana packaged in the form of capsules and oil are allowed by the state. The law still forbids smoking medical pot.
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