Tags Posts tagged with "NYC"


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The recently passed state budget eliminates a cap on New York’s prospering industrial hemp industry. That will allow more farmers to be able to research, grow, and process a crop that could turn into a million dollar business. The industrial hemp industry’s first hurdle is also the biggest misconception most people have about.

SUNY Morrisville Researcher Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins stated, “It is related to marijuana is what most people think. But industrial hemp does not have any THC in it.” It’s THC that creates the marijuana plant’s high. However, the biological connection between marijuana and hemp continues to create a roadblock for growing a crop that farmers cultivated in New York state more than a century ago.

So while there are still major Drug Enforcement Administration regulations in place regarding acquiring seed and transporting industrial hemp, the New York’s loosening of rules around the industry opens up farmers to a crop that has earnings potential. Processed hemp is already sold locally, valued for its high protein content. Jenkins stated, “You can walk into your Wegmans and buy a bag of hemp seeds just like you can buy a bag of sunflower seeds. You can buy hemp oil, you can buy hemp meal to use in shakes and smoothies.”

However, most of the hemp products sold in New York right now come from Canada and China. Jenkins, who’s researching the best ways to fertilize hemp in the field, says New York isn’t the only state that sees potential in industrial hemp. That may be spurring New York state to move quickly. Jenkins said, “The state who get the grows happening faster are going to benefit more.” They’re going to be out ahead.” New York state will be holding a hemp summit later this year in the Southern Tier to highlight the challenges and opportunities to grow the industry.

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It is a notoriously difficult task to get your hands on legal marijuana in New York State. While that holds true, several new policies from the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo are looking to make access to the state’s medical marijuana program a bit easier for licensed patients. Under the new ordinances, patients too sick to travel can have their medical marijuana delivered, and nurse practitioners may now approve patients for access to the medical marijuana.

The state is also considering expanding its list of medical conditions that would qualify patients to be apart of states the medical marijuana program to include mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. As of now, only a handful of severe, “Debilitating or life-threatening” conditions make patients eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

New York’s medical marijuana program is arguably known to be one of the most restrictive and cumbersome programs in the united states, leaving patients and advocates frustrated, however, plenty of states have yet to legalize cannabis in any form. In the states of California, which is known to have the most lenient medical marijuana rules and regulations, patients can obtain a recommendation and product without leaving the comfort if their desks.

Patients can begin to order delivery by the end of September. New York may also double the number of companies allowed to open dispensaries in the state, from five to 10. Currently, there are only 17 dispensaries statewide, which is a number many advocates consider too small to serve the state’s 20 million residents. The state expects to implement all 12 of the Health Department’s recommendations, the Times reports. In the meantime, patients may rest easy knowing New York is making good on its promise to evolve its nascent medical marijuana program.

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New York’s medical cannabis is known as one of the strictest in the entire country. At the moment, the program only gives less than four thousand people throughout all of New York medical marijuana. The five companies that are set up in the state decided to grow and process cannabis for people that are suffering from extremely debilitating conditions. But in order to stop the newest industry from going down in bankruptcy, those same companies came together to call for some changes to the Compassionate Care Act, the measure that legalized medical marijuana.

The program was first launched back in January. Since that time, the twenty medical cannabis dispensaries that were supposed to provide to patients have heard over and over again that the business is going to fail if no money is put into anything. Also, they need to give more people the ability to choose medical marijuana over normal prescription drugs. So, in order to stay alive, the give companies have made the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Association, a lobby group trying to persuade more people in the NY General Assembly to have the program grow before it dies because of its own restrictions.

“We’re going around giving an update to the program [and] sharing some of our impressions and talking about ways that we think the program can be improved,” said Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health, one of the five medical cannabis companies.

The main obstacle – and one of many – competing with New York’s potential of a successful medical cannabis program is that there are not many advocates that are willing to make a change to the bill in office. At the moment, the two legislatures behind the Compassionate Care Act, Senator Diane Savino, and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, are the only ones trying to make any sort of change and keep the program alive.

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NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on a radio show over the last weekend that cannabis is responsible for most of the violence in New York. He added that it baffles him that states want to legalize marijuana.
“Interestingly enough here in New York City, most of the violence we see — violence around drug trafficking — is involving marijuana,” Bratton added. “Here in New York the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in the use of heroin now in the city. I have to scratch my head as we are seeing many states wanting to legalize marijuana or more liberalization of policies.”
Morgan Fox, from the Marijuana Policy Project said to ThinkProgress that his claims are “extremely dubious,” and would be very based on exactly what “involving marijuana” means.
“It seems to me that that statement could only be true if you just count the mere presence of marijuana,” Fox added. “The mere presence of a small amount of marijuana at a crime scene or on the person of someone involved in a violent crime does not mean that marijuana was involved in or the motivation for that crime.”
Because of how crime typically plays out in New York, saying that most of it is because of marijuana would be a bit of a stretch. Crime data, thanks to the multiple pieces involved, such as levels of income to just coincidence, are very difficult to analyze. However, one thing that can be sure is that the cause of crimes cannot just be attributed to one reason, especially not marijuana.
In fact, studies have indicated multiple times that cannabis does not result in violence. Alcohol, which is legal, is very much more likely to result in violence and aggression. Various studies have also indicated that cannabis is less addictive than alcohol and that alcohol is actually worse for you than marijuana. Furthermore, a study from the University of Texas states that legalization might even decrease violent crime rates.

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Data that has been recently released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services indicates that New York City arrests related to cannabis have dropped to under 17,000 for the first time in over a decade. There was a total of 16,590 arrests were a low-level cannabis possession in 2015 is a forty-two percent drop from the 26,386 in 2014 and a sixty-seven percent decline from the approximate 51,000 arrests in 2011.

It is a fact that the New York Police Department has been on a cannabis arrest mission for the last two decades. Billions of dollars have been spent already, and there have been millions of hours have been wasted to accumulate almost 700,000 arrests for minimal cannabis possession. Even worse, eighty-six percent of the people that are arrested are black or Latino, even though white people statistically use marijuana more.

But things began to change gradually in 2010 when the VOCAL-NY, the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, the Center for NuLeadership, and the Drug Policy Alliance started a multi-sector campaign to show the prejudice and waste of resources at the heart of the war on cannabis in New York. There have been reports published, most of which at Albany and City Hall, pleaded for legislative fixes, and reported stories of people have had their lives ruined because of small pot possession.

And at the moment, those people are winning. In 2015, cannabis arrests were at the lowest rate they have been since 1996 when George Pataki was Governor of New York. But activists are happy that cannabis arrests have declined in general, but it does not mean that the war should be won. Simple cannabis possession arrest have been dropping for the last four years, but they are still nineteen times the rate they were at the beginning of the 90’s.

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New York’s therapeutic cannabis program, also known as the Compassionate Care Act, which started up at the beginning of 2016, did not only come with various restrictions but were only of benefit to those who are almost dead. Even then, the tight regulations that are involved in this disaster have put cannabis products for the most part out of reach for the few patients who meet all requirements to be allowed to obtain medical marijuana. Be that as it may, Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the legislator who was vital in the battle to legalize cannabis for New York, says he will present a few new bills in the following weeks that he trusts will prompt a large-scale development of the project.

A new article in the Village Voice shows that Gottfried’s arrangements to present a bill that will expand the quantity of cannabis cultivators allowed to work over the state from five to some place in the region of 10. The proposition would simplify the permitting process, dodging an elongated endorsement period, by drawing the next selection of pot companies from the original applicants that did not make the starting cut in 2015.

All of Gottfried’s attempts to strengthen the medical cannabis program are particular splits from a full proposal (A07476) that was proposed back in 2015. Gottfried’s plans to introduce his objectives at a time in which he hopes to let lawmakers give selective focus on products that people are actually interested in rather than making people get past a bunch of demands. Gottfried firmly believes that this may be the most efficient way to achieve a couple of wins in the middle of medical cannabis growth since some of the bills proposed will be considered more acceptable and easier to implement as others would cause more of a raucous.

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New York’s medical cannabis program is set to start this month, with four new medical shops opening in the city.  However, there is a whole set of occurrences that need to take place prior to patients being able to buy marijuana in the form of oils or bills. Pot enthusiasts have been worried about this set of occurrences that the state Department of Health would never get rolling.

First, it starts with doctors: they need to finish a $249 four-hour online course on medicinal marijuana and register with the New York State Department of Health before they can recommend pot to patients who have medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and Parkinson’s Disease. Patients can just apply online for the registry ID card that they’ll have to show at dispensaries after they’ve received certification from a state-registered physician that demonstrates their medical need and details the prescription.

Going against the broad conviction among the pot advocates that few doctors will be allowed to provide certifications by January, a prime supporter of the organization that runs the online course —  which covers such points as the symptoms of cannabis and overdose avoidance — told DNA info New York that numerous doctors have been setting themselves up since autumn.

”I can tell you registration [for the course] is brisk,” said academic clinician at Harvard Medical School and a founder of The Answer Page, Stephen B. Corn. “It’s been brisk for a number of months, since the end of October, when [the course] launched… And many, many doctors have successfully, quickly, effectively completed the course.”

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