New York expands Medical Marijuana Program

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on December 16, 2016.

New York State is all set to expand its medical marijuana program to meet better patient need and improve accessibility of the drug including allowing home delivery.

The State Department of Health has announced that chronic pain is a qualified condition for medical marijuana treatment under New York's Compassionate Care Law.  It also said that medical marijuana has been proven to help treat debilitating pain.

The Health Department lists as many as 10 illnesses under chronic pains, which can be treated with medical marijuana soon, that include HIV infection or AIDS, Parkinson's disease, Cancer, Inflammatory bowel disease, Neuropathies, Huntington's disease, Multiple sclerosis, Spinal damage, Lou Gehrig's disease, and Epilepsy.

The state is expected to expand its list of qualifying illnesses to include PTSD and similar mental health issues, and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker said the Department of Health’s decision to add chronic pain to its list for qualified conditions will strengthen the core of the existing program.

 “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program”, Zucker said.

Among other changes in the program, the role of nurse practitioners will be upgraded to certify qualified patients for medical marijuana use. Since marijuana is still a Schedule I drug by the federal standards some doctors are hesitant to recommend the drug. Hence, expanding the role of nurse practitioners will certainly short out such problems.

The state is also looking at permitting additional companies to open new dispensaries, a move opposed by the operators of the 19 current dispensaries around the state.

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