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NY Department of Health to Make Improvements to Medical Marijuana Program

New York Marijuana Program

Patients and caregivers have expressed their displeasure with New York’s medical marijuana program. Many claim that the program, as it is written, is very inefficient.

Over the next few years, the New York Department of Health plans to make improvements to the medical marijuana program to address the most significant complaints. One of which is the lack of doctors that are registered to prescribe/recommend medical marijuana, IBTimes reports. The program has a reported 4,998 patients. The majority of those patients, 2,883 to be exact, live in New York City or Long Island.

The breakdown of doctors by location is:

  • Putnam has only 1 doctor and 49 patients
  • New York City and Long Island have a total of 366 doctors
  • Westchester County has 42 available doctors for 340 patients
  • Rockland County has 7 doctors for 106 patients

An additional struggle with the program is that there is only one growing facility available, which is managed by five different companies. Those five companies are permitted to have just four dispensaries each.

The state will soon be allowing nurse practitioners to recommend medical marijuana for patients. This should help reduce the wait time in seeing a doctor and should also help patients have access to medicine faster.

In order to meet the patient demand for medical marijuana, the New York Department of Health has said it will permit additional dispensaries to open. It will also increase the number of growing facilities.

Governor Cuomo’s signature would be required to make these changes into law. However, he is hesitant. In June, at a press conference, he said, “You don’t have to have one on every corner because you don’t have that kind of demand. But if you need the drug, you can get the drug.”