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Statement re: Awarding of Medical Marijuana Licenses

“I am glad to see that the New York State Department of Health announced its selection of five organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana under the 2014 Compassionate Care Act today. It is welcome, but insufficient to meet the needs of patients with serious debilitating or life-threatening conditions. They will still have months to wait before they can expect any relief and there are not enough dispensaries.

The Health Department chose not to use its authority under the law to approve more than five licenses, which means there are only 20 dispensaries. In a state with 20 million people and 54,000 square miles, that will not meet patient needs, especially for very ill patients in rural areas.

I hope Governor Cuomo will soon sign the Medical Marijuana Emergency Access bill, passed in June, which would make CBD oil available even sooner for the thousands of children with serious uncontrolled epilepsy children so they can benefit more quickly, even with today’s approval of the licensees. New York could have made it available to them months ago. Instead, they will suffer seizures every day for months to come

Today’s announcement is one positive step forward. New Yorkers need more to follow quickly.”