It is notoriously difficult to get your hands on legal marijuana in New York State.
While that remains true, several new policies from the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo aim to make access to the state’s medical marijuana program easier.
Under the new regulations, patients too ill to travel can have their cannabis delivered, and nurse practitioners may now certify patients for access to the drug, the New York Times reports.
The state is also considering broadening its list of conditions that qualify patients for the medical marijuana program to include mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, 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 one of the most restrictive and cumbersome programs in the country, leaving patients and advocates frustrated, though plenty of states have yet to legalise cannabis in any form. In California, the state with the most lenient medical marijuana regulations, patients can obtain a recommendation and product without leaving their desks.
The new policies are a step in the right direction.
Patients can begin to order delivery by the end of September. Dispensaries will handle the transactions.
New York may also double the number of companies allowed to open dispensaries in the state, from five to 10. There are currently 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.