N.Y. State Updates Medical Marijuana Program

N.Y. State Updates Medical Marijuana Program

New regulations propose adding chronic pain to qualifying conditions, allow wholesaling of MMJ.

New York’s Department of Health (NYSDOH) has relaxed its stringent regulations over the state’s medical marijuana program, allowing cannabis producers to wholesale their wares to other dispensaries and by adding chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions.

The state government agency released a statement on Dec. 8 announcing the new changes.

“These are major steps forward for New York’s Medical Marijuana Program and the thousands of patients who are benefiting from it every day,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker in the release. “These enhancements will continue to strengthen the program and improve patient access by making medical marijuana available to patients suffering from chronic pain and making more products available at dispensing facilities across the state.”

The wholesaling rule changes, which take effect immediately, will allow the five licensed cultivators to sell their products to one another instead of forcing them to only sell in their own dispensaries. It also removes the “five brand” cap the program started with, meaning dispensaries will be able to offer more than five brands or products to their patients. This will make more varieties of products available at dispensaries across the state, according to the NYSDOH.

While the wholesaling changes take effect immediately, the addition of chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions must wait in the wings as it must go through a 45-day comment period before it can be adopted. That comment period will begin Dec. 21, after the amendment is published on the state’s Register.

On top of allowing wholesaling and a plan to add chronic pain as a qualifying condition, the NYSDOH also allowed nurse practitioners to certify patients for the state’s medical marijuana program, increasing the number of health care professionals able to certify patients.

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