The state of New York is about to expand its medical marijuana program to help better meet the needs of all patients and improve accessibility. The state’s new regulations were endorsed by the Department of Health and will incorporate things like home delivery and doubling the amount of businesses that can provide medical marijuana. The New York Times documented that the amended policy is expected to be announced on Tuesday. Supporters of medical marijuana have previously scrutinized New York’s program for being too limited.
“We’ve always been interested in expanding the program,” Alphonso David, Governor Cuomo’s counsel, said to the Times.
Kassandra Frederique, the state director at the Drug Policy Alliance’s New York office, released information to the Times that patients have been asking for a lot of these changes for the past year and a half. Many of the new policies will make life a lot more subtle for patients who use medical marijuana. As of now, there are only five firms in the state of New York that are allowed to sell the marijuana legally. The state intends to expand that number to 10 so that patients hopefully will not have to travel a great distance to find a dispensary.
Home delivery will help those who have difficulty traveling at all. Nurse practitioners will now be allowed to certify patients for using medical marijuana. Some physicians are reluctant to recommend marijuana, or even refer a patient to someone who would be able to because marijuana is still a Schedule I drug in the eyes of the federal government.
Expanding the role of nurse practitioners will hopefully ease that problem. New York plans to add more conditions to the list of those that qualify a patient for medical marijuana use. The state is expected to expand its list of qualifying disabilities to include PTSD and similar mental health disorders, and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
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