On Monday, the New York State Department of Health announced that they are accepting applications from businesses that are interested in becoming a registered medical marijuana organization. Such an organization would be allowed to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in New York. The state expects to register the selected businesses by July.
In late March, the New York State Health Department published its proposed regulations that are set forth in more than 100 pages. The Health Department placed a lot restrictions on medical marijuana which will prevent many potential patients from accessing it. The program will allow state-certified doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy and other serious diseases and conditions.
The patients who actually qualify for medical marijuana will face a number of restrictions such as medical marijuana cannot be smoked. Registered patients will be allowed to consume medical marijuana through pills, oils and vaporizers.
Regulations allow for five organizations in the state
The Health Department’s regulations only allow for 20 medical dispensaries to be run by five organizations established throughout the state. Each organization will each be permitted to open up to four dispensaries to distribute medical marijuana to registered patients.
Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, “This represents an important step in implementing the medical marijuana program in New York State. We have laid out an ambitious timeline in getting the program up and running and we are meeting our goals. Once the applications are in, we can begin our review and move to the next step of selecting the registered organizations this summer.”
New York needs to speed up the process
Medical marijuana advocates have been trying to get the state to speed up the process of distributing medical marijuana to patients in need. Advocates have said that patients, particularly sick children, need the drug as soon as possible.
Last week, Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried introduced a bill that would give severely sick patients early access to medical marijuana. The bill has some bipartisan support, but it does not have a Senate sponsor yet.
A memo attached to the bill said, “The purpose of this program is to expedite the availability of medical (marijuana) to avoid suffering and loss of life … especially in the case of patients whose serious condition is progressive and degenerative.”
Not a cheap application
Businesses interested in becoming a registered medical marijuana organization are required to provide detailed plans about their operations. These businesses will be required to pay a $10,000 non-refundable application fee, as well as a $200,000 registration fee. Businesses that are not approved will have their registration fee refunded.