Tag medical marijuana

City and State: Winners and Losers, 11/17/17

November 16, 2017

A week and a half after the general election, a few of the races that were too close to call have finally been resolved. Two of the victors landed on this week’s list, along with a few lawmakers who notched legislative victories, several commissioners who committed unforced errors and more.


Chris Collins & Tom Reed – While some of their colleagues in the state’s Republican congressional delegation don’t agree, these two Western New Yorkers were happy to vote for the controversial tax reform proposal that passed in the House this week. Reed helped craft a key compromise on local and state tax deductions that advanced the plan, while Collins said it will save his constituents money. What’s more, the federal government declared Lake Ontario a disaster zone after spring flooding, another top priority for Collins.

Richard Gottfried & Diane Savino – The Manhattan assemblyman and the Staten Island state senator’s legislation allowing medical marijuana to be used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder was signed into into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Veterans Day, expanding the list of ailments that may legally be treated by cannabis. In a state where any legislative action can be incredibly slow, the bill passed with bipartisan majorities, and was touted by the governor as part of a package supporting veterans, making it a high point for the lawmakers.

Staten Island Advance: PTSD to be added as a qualifying condition for NY’s medical marijuana program

By Tracey Porpara, November 11

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign a bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for New York’s medical marijuana program, he announced on Saturday – Veterans Day.

This action will make New York is the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.

“We thank Gov. Cuomo for his support of this compassionate bill. No one should have to leave the state to have access to a treatment that might help them have a better quality of life,” said Landon Dais, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project of New York.

Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill, said, “Governor Cuomo’s action reflects growing recognition of the value of medical marijuana, and is another welcome step in the expanding and strengthening of New York’s medical marijuana program.”

Twenty-eight of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs will now allow patients with PTSD to qualify. In the only state that does not, Alaska, marijuana is legal and regulated for adults 21 and older. Bills to add PTSD to state medical marijuana programs were signed into law in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont this year.

Since its launch nearly two years ago, New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program has certified 35,621 patients, and has 1,316 practitioners registered, said Jill Montag, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health.

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


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.