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Syracuse Post-Standard – NY keeps names of medical pot docs secret; Bill seeks public disclosure

By Jim Mulder, May 26

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — There are 583 doctors throughout New York registered to prescribe medical marijuana, but the state Health Department is keeping their names a secret.

The department would be required to list the doctors on its website under a bill passed Wednesday by the state Assembly.

Doctors and other licensed providers who want to refer patients to a certified medical marijuana prescriber can get their names from the heath department, but this information is off limits to the public.

“Severely ill patients are forced to cold-call doctor after
doctor in hopes of finding one, or try to find information through
social media or other potentially unreliable sources,” says a memo in the bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo.

The bill would make the health department publish the names and contact information of registered medical marijuana prescribers on a searchable database. Doctors who do not want to be listed would be able to opt out.

In the bill memo, Peoples-Stokes says she believes current state law requires public disclosure of this information, but the health department disagrees.

The Assembly also passed a bill Wednesday that would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to register with the state to become certified medical marijuana prescribers.

“New York allows NPs AND PAs to prescribe the strongest and most dangerous controlled substances, but not medical marijuana,” said Richard Gottfried, sponsor of the bill and chair of the Assembly Health Committee.

New York launched its new, highly-restrictive medical marijuana program in January. Under the program, medical marijuana is only available to patients with one of these conditions: AIDS-HIV, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy and Huntington’s disease.

To be eligible, patients also must have one or more of these complications: wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.