New York’s medical marijuana program is one of the most restricted in the country. However, in the last several months, some changes have been implemented by the Department of Health to expand access to patients. The state has since seen rapid growth as it’s patient enrollment has increased significantly.
There are now more types of practitioners able to certify patients, according to The National Law Review. Nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants can now certify patients. Thousands of new patients registered as the result of the addition of chronic pain.
The names of certified providers is also published on a list for patients to find a certifying doctor easier. There are 19,000 registered patients now. Some speculate that there are upwards of 200,000 to 500,000 patients eligible throughout the state. There are about 1,000 registered practitioners to certify patients.
The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association filed a lawsuit against the DOH to stop the state from allowing five more medical marijuana companies to open. The main argument was that it would create additional losses for the existing companies struggling to stay afloat. Patient demand didn’t meet the need for more providers.
Since the addition of chronic pain in New York, 3,350 new patients have become certified medical marijuana patients. That is an almost 20-percent increase in patient enrollment.
A bill to add PTSD is working its way through the state’s legislative process. This could further increase the state’s patient base and increase demand, which may also help to lower the cost of medical marijuana across the state.