New York medical marijuana patients continue to have difficulty obtaining medicine. The state has only approved about 1,000 patients, and dispensaries have not opened in accordance with deadlines set by the state, reports The Journal News. One of the major struggles for patients is finding a doctor to certify them for program participation.
New York has 90,000 doctors. Of those, less than 400 are registered to prescribe medical marijuana. There are some 200,000 eligible patients statewide, yet only 1,000 have been approved.
Part of the issue with finding a prescribing physician is with the state. The state will not release the names of doctors registered to prescribe medical marijuana.
One mother, of a 5-year old boy with a rare seizure disorder, says, “It’s frustrating that we can’t find a practitioner, especially while knowing that children in different states have full access to this medicine. The way [New York’s] law is written there are so many barriers to access, from the doctor certification to the number of dispensaries.”
New York law requires doctors to submit a dosage suggestion as a requirement in the certification process.
Dr. Laszlo Mechtler is a prescribing doctor in New York. He is the director of Dent Cannabis Clinic and Neurologic Institute, where 10 doctors are available to write medical marijuana recommendations. In response to the difficulties patients are facing, he said, “In the meantime, while we wait for the politicians to make decisions, what do we do for our suffering patients? I can’t wait for a 12-year old that has less than four months to live….That is my duty, to relieve that suffering.”
The flawed New York program leaves doctors feeling vulnerable to license revocation or criminal charges being filed by the DEA. President Obama did, however, direct the DEA to keep their “hands off” of state medical marijuana laws. Doctors supporting medical marijuana as a treatment option for dozens of medical conditions believe that the federal government should focus on the real data that proves marijuana to be a viable medication.