Tag medical marijuana

Crain’s: State Health Department pushes to expand access to medical marijuana

By Jonathan LaMantia, August 11

The state Health Department proposed a slew of fixes to its medical-marijuana program Thursday in order to make it easier for patients and providers to participate.

The department will allow registered companies to sell lotions, ointments, patches, chewable and effervescent tablets, and lozenges. While the new products expand on existing options for consuming marijuana, such as vaporizers and pills, patients still won’t be allowed to smoke it. Those in the industry say the manufactured products allow for precise dosing, while some patient advocates contend that the lack of smokeable marijuana has deterred potential customers from the legal market.

The regulations will ease restrictions on prospective patients interested in going to a dispensary to learn about products or the state program. Currently, patients must already be certified. The state will also shorten a required educational course for providers from four hours to two.

Since late March, when the state added chronic pain as a qualifying condition, the number of certified patients has increased 77%, to about 27,000. The Health Department also began publishing a list of certified practitioners in May. The improvements are positive signs for proponents of the industry who had criticized the Cuomo administration for holding the program back with rules that limited access.

“The administration has clearly turned a corner in its attitude toward the medical-marijuana program in a good way,” Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Democrat representing Manhattan, said. “It’s a program that ought to be expanded and moved as close as possible to the way we deal with medications generally.”

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said the changes were aimed at “improving the facility experience.” For example, one proposed rule allows people other than caregivers to accompany certified patients to a dispensary.

The 10 registered companies will also get relief in the form of changes to regulations around advertising and manufacturing and security requirements.

“We welcome these regulatory changes and are hopeful they will help enhance patient access,” Ari Hoffnung, chief executive of Vireo Health of New York, said in a statement.

The proposed regulations will be published in the state register on Aug. 23, with a 30-day comment period to follow.

Gannett – Veterans to Cuomo: Allow medical marijuana for PTSD

By Jon Campbell, July 7

ALBANY – Veterans groups are pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow those with post-traumatic stress disorder to use medical marijuana, urging him to sign a bill that will soon head to his desk.

The state Senate voted late last month to add PTSD to the list of illnesses and ailments eligible for the state’s medical-marijuana program, about six weeks after the Assembly voted to do the same.

Staten Island Advance – PTSD added to list of ills treatable with medical marijuana

By Rachel Shapiro, June 22

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — New Yorkers with PTSD will soon be eligible to treat their symptoms with medical marijuana after the state Senate passed Sen. Diane Savino’s bill Tuesday, adding the ailment to those already included in the Compassionate Care Act.

The Assembly bill to add PTSD, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), passed last month.

CNHI – Medical pot group sues state over expansion

By Joe Mahoney, 5/5

ALBANY — With more than 18,000 New Yorkers now certified to be treated with medical marijuana, the state is seeking to double the number of producers of the drug.

But the New York Medical Cannabis Association, a trade group representing the state’s five companies that run production facilities and the 20 dispensaries spread across the state, is waging a court battle to thwart the effort. It argues the Cuomo administration’s plan to bring on new producers will jeopardize their financial viability.

Amy Peckham, the chief operating officer of Etain, a company that produces medical cannabis at a Chestertown facility and operates four dispensaries, said in an affidavit filed with the lawsuit that the state Department of Health’s decision to increase the number of licensed suppliers from five to 10 was “shocking.”

Associated Press: Assembly approves use of marijuana as PTSD treatment

5/3/17

ALBANY  — New York state lawmakers are gaining momentum in a measure to expand medical marijuana coverage to those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Currently, medical marijuana in New York can only be used to treat serious illnesses such as cancer and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The New York Daily News reports the Democrat-controlled Assembly approved a measure that adds PTSD to the list of state-approved ailments that doctors can prescribe medical marijuana as treatment. The bill will now move to the Republican-controlled Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried of Manhattan, says there’s evidence that medical marijuana is effective in treating PTSD.

New York launched its medicinal marijuana program last year.

Capitol Tonight (Video) – Expanding Medical Marijuana for PTSD

(Video here:  http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/capital-tonight-interviews/2017/05/2/gottfried-raia-krawitz-050217.html )

A bill expand the state’s medical marijuana program to include post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is moving at the capitol, and advocates are feeling optimistic about its chances of passage this year. They argue that other states have demonstrated pot can be used to relieve anxiety and depression, without the side-effects of other prescription medications typically used to treat those problems. And they say it’s especially important to give more options to veterans. Joining us  to talk more about this is Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who chairs the health committee, health committee ranking minority member Assemblyman Andrew Raia, and Mike Krawitz of Veterans for Medical Cannabis.

The Times of Israel: Alt-right website tries to weed out Jews from drug reform

By Madison Margolin, 2/18/17

NEW YORK — Back in 1971, the father of the American “War on Drugs” drew a connection between Jews and cannabis.

“You know it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish,” president Richard Nixon said. “What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists.”

Most Jews are not psychiatrists, of course, just as most marijuana law reform activists are not Jewish. Nixon, however, wasn’t alone in calling Jews out for their involvement in cannabis policy.

An anti-Semitic article published by alt-right website The Daily Stormer in late November entitled “Weed Kikes Attacking Jeff Sessions!” denigrates a number of Jewish activists by name for opposing President Donald Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General, a position that directs federal drug law enforcement.

Journal-News: NY moves to expand medical marijuana products

By Lindsay Riback, 12/9/16

ALBANY – The state is poised to lift restrictions on medical marijuana growers that currently limit the number of products they can carry and prevent them from selling wholesale products to each other.

The state Department of Health announced this week that it will lift a regulation that limited the state’s five licensed medical marijuana companies to carrying only five products each, a limitation patient advocates had long been critical off.

The state agency also said it will begin accepting plans from the companies to sell their products wholesale to other registered organizations, which is expected to increase the variety of products available at dispensaries across the state.

What the New Administration in Washington Means for  Health Policy in New York

By Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried

The election of Donald Trump and Republican control of Congress are a serious threat to programs and policies that protect our health.  Washington could make radical changes to Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, reproductive care, and other programs that could drastically undermine our right to health care, cost New York State billions of dollars a year in federal funds, and destabilize health care providers.

The first step in stopping or reversing these attacks is to clearly understand what’s at stake and spread the word.  There is hardly anything more rigged against working people than health care.  The Trump-Republican agenda will make it worse.  This is a time to redouble efforts in more progressive states like New York to create universal access to health care, with funding based fairly on ability to pay, through an “improved Medicare for all” system.

For years, congressional attacks on funding and programs have been defeated by the threat or use of presidential vetoes.  Now we will have a president who may be leading the charge.

Politico NY – State to allow medical marijuana for chronic pain

By Josefa Velasquez, 12/1/16

ALBANY — Chronic pain will soon be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, the state’s Department of Health announced Thursday.

“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain,” said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. “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.

DOH will develop a proposed regulatory amendment that will include specific language specifying the chronic pain conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana. The language of the proposed amendment was not immediately available.