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Although New York is one of the largest and most attractive markets in the United States, its medical marijuana program was very slow to gain traction due the number of restrictions placed on potential patients, doctors, and operators.
That is all starting to change and the New York medical marijuana market is starting to gain significant traction after the state’s Department of Health added chronic pain as a qualifying condition in late March.
Following this addition, the number of registered patients have increased by almost 50% and this has caused the Department of Health to announce several new enhancements to the medical marijuana program.
Enhancements Simplify the Registration Process for All
The enhancements announced by the New York Department of Health will streamline and simplify the registration process for practitioners, making it easier to certify patients for the medical marijuana program.
Effective immediately, practitioners can register online with the Department and certify patients the same day. Prior to this, it could take several days for practitioner registrations to be completed.
All practitioners who newly register with the Department will be listed publicly online and this will help patients find participating practitioners. There are currently more than 1,000 practitioners in New York’s medical marijuana program
The Department of Health also approved the addition of a second course on the medical use of marijuana, a prerequisite for practitioners seeking to participate in the program. The courses are available online and provide continuing medical education credits. Practitioners are only required to complete one course to register to certify patients.
Canadian Firm Enters New York’s Medical Marijuana Market
Earlier this month, Canadian-based iAnthus Capital Holdings (IAN.CN: CSE) (ITHUF) entered New York’s medical marijuana market through the acquisition of Valley Ag, which received conditional approval to be awarded a medical marijuana license from the Department of Health.
Valley Ag plans to produce medical-grade standardized medical marijuana that can be consumed through oils, pills, inhaler pens and other delivery mechanisms. The company is working with Seach Ltd, one of the largest official suppliers of medical grade cannabis to the Israeli Ministry of Health.
The proposed acquisition includes the Valley Ag cultivation campus which has approx. 136 acres currently zoned for cannabis cultivation and a 6,500-square foot cultivation and processing facility. Upon final certification by the New York State Department of Health, Valley Ag's license will include one cultivation and processing facility as well as four dispensary locations.
The Valley Ag cultivation campus is located approximately 60 miles from New York City and is positioned to become a large-scale wholesale supplier to the New York State market in addition to Valley Ag's own dispensaries. They expect the first crop to be completed and dispensaries to be opened in the first quarter of 2018.
New York’s Marijuana Market is Just Getting Started
Although New York has one of the largest and most condense populations, its medical marijuana program is tiny and has less than 25,000 registered patients. Over the last two months, New York’s medical marijuana program has expanded significantly and we expect to see incremental growth on a month-over-month basis.
iAnthus is different from your normal Canadian cannabis business. The company owns, operates, and partners with licensed cannabis operations in the United States. Once the Valley Ag acquisition closes, it will expand iAnthus' portfolio of U.S. cannabis investments into five regulated states.
The market has responded favorably to this acquisition and iAnthus has seen its share price rally more than 12% since it was announced. We are favorable on the company’s leverage to the New York market and believe this is a company investors need to watch.