New York dispensaries officially opened on January 7, 2016. A total of 8 dispensaries opened on the first day of permitted sales, and only 51 patients have been approved for medical marijuana cards in the state. A total of 20 dispensaries will be available throughout the state. Many argue that this is not enough locations to serve a state as large as New York.
Arguments go further to claim that the list of qualifying conditions needs to be expanded.
The current list of qualifying conditions in New York is:
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Intractable spasticity
Patients must obtain certification from an approved physician. The physician must be registered with the state in order to submit a recommendation for the use of medical marijuana.
As the New York Times reports, a provision of the law signed by Governor Cuomo allows for the state to stop the medical marijuana program at any time if public health and safety are at risk.
Hillary Peckham, chief operating officer of Etain, says that the typical patient could spend an average of $300 – $1,200 per month on medical marijuana products. She looks forward to business growth and stated, “I always wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. But I never thought it would be this.”
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed into law the use of medical marijuana products for qualifying patients in 2014. The law is quite strict. Smoking of medical marijuana is not permitted in New York State. Alternative forms, including tinctures and vaporizer options, must be used. Medical marijuana businesses must process the plant into a different form such as oils and edible products.