Newly approved amendments to New York’s medical marijuana program will allow nurse practitioners and doctor assistants to prescribe medical marijuana. This is just one of a couple of amendments that are expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. The amendments were officially filed on Tuesday with the Department of Health.
The expansions were first discussed in August by the Department of Health, reports the Times Union. A decision regarding the inclusion of chronic pain to the qualifying conditions list is expected by the end of November. These changes are part of the program’s required two-year progress report.
Additional recommendations for the medical marijuana program will allow for more testing labs and adding five more growers/producers within the next two years.
Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “The first year of New York’s medical marijuana program has been a success. Over 10,500 patients have been certified by the more than 740 registered physicians to date. Authorizing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to certify patients will only help to further strengthen the program and improve patient access.”
Nurse practitioners will be permitted to start certifying patients on November 30. Doctor assistants will be permitted to certify patients after a 45-day public comment period beginning on November 30. Doctor assistants will be permitted to certify patients after the comment period and the filing of the amendment for adoption.
New York already has doctors who can certify patients for a medical marijuana card, but not many are registered to do so. Allowing NPs and PAs to certify patients opens up 30,000 more opportunities for registered medical practitioners to certify patients. A four-hour course is required by all those practicing medicine to be permitted to certify patients.
The New York Department of Health offers an online resource for non-registered doctors to connect their patients with registered doctors to certify them for medical marijuana. It is open only to registered doctors and is not available to the general public.