New York’s medical marijuana program is probably one of the most – surprisingly – fast-expanding and marijuana-friendly of the U.S.
How did that happen? No one really knows. New York’s medical marijuana program started out shy, very restricted and making small changes. However, in the blink of an eye, the program who had problems because few state residents joined the program, has now with over 82,000 patients and 2,000 registered practitioners. Yes, it is still a small quantity for the number of residents in the state, but the program had struggled with way fewer patients.
The city of New York was the city in the world which burned more cannabis in the entire world in 2017. However, that’s not all because of medical cannabis. In fact, you aren’t even allowed to smoke weed legally in New York. But that’s subject for another article.
New York’s Medical Marijuana Program Overview
Governor Andrew Cuomo approved the medical marijuana law for New Yorkers in 2014, allowing patients that had some or more of the ten predefined medical debilitating conditions listed on the program to consume non-smokable cannabis forms.
In 2017, the government also approved post-traumatic stress disease (PTSD) and chronic pain as one of the program’s qualifying conditions. Until then, the state which has over than 19 million residents struggled with the medical marijuana program because, despite the investments made, there were few patients registered on the program.
After PTSD and chronic pain were added to the list of a qualifying condition, the number of patients registering in the state’s program almost doubled.
Mid-2018, the NY government added opioid prescription to the list of qualifying conditions. So, any patient with an opioid prescription can opt for purchasing marijuana instead of opioid medication. As you all know, the opioid crisis has taken over the U.S., but the attempt to decrease opioid use has been a real success in states which marijuana can be used as an alternative for an opioid prescription.
So, where is New York City on Medical Marijuana right now?
Here’s the status of legalization and laws in the state:
The big question that’s being asked since forever and it is still on everybody’s mouth is: is New York going to legalize recreational marijuana? Is Andrew Cuomo going to be the Governor to do so?
According to a poll made by Emmerson College in 2017, 62% of registered voters in New York supports the full legalization of cannabis in the state.
From what it seems, New York is each time one step closer into legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, and here’s a timeline of events to prove why:
Governor Cuomo called in early 2018 for a study to examine what would be the pros and cons of marijuana legalization in New York. Many people claimed it was just politics since he’s been up to reelection. However, his following actions indeed proved he’s no joking when discussing recreational cannabis legalization in NY.
In June, the state’s Police Department announced that it would cut more than half the numbers of arrests for smoking marijuana publicly in New York.
The results of Governor’s Cuomo requested research about the effects of marijuana legalization in New York were presented to him in July, and the state’s Health Department recommended the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.
A few weeks after the results of the study came out, Gov. Cuomo arranged a group of people who would be responsible for creating a draft of a marijuana legislation.
In September, two important things happened for the state’s status of legalization: the enforcement policy became effective, and now anyone caught smoking publicly or possessing up to 25 grams of marijuana may be summoned instead of being arrested as it used to be.
The second big step into legalization was that Gov. Cuomo has organized 15 listening sessions on regulated marijuana, which occurred between September and October. These listening sessions had the goal to discuss and hear communities’ worries and suggestions about legalized recreational marijuana.
The Governor expects that these workshops bring a light on what the state’s recreational marijuana program could be, including on how the state would regulate the law.
It has passed November and Governor Andrew Cuomo has been re-elected for the third time to be New York’s governor. Let’s expect that with reelection he continues willing to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in New York.
As of now, there’s not much left to do but to wait and see what Gov Cuomo has been preparing for New York residents. And how about the state’s medical marijuana program? It appears that it has stagnated with Cuomo’s proposition to legalize it for adult use.
If you’re a New York resident and wish to know how to get a medical marijuana card there, click here and see how Veriheal can help you with that task.