New York Medical Marijuana Program To Begin Thursday – Washington Times

The Department of Health announced Tuesday it would soon post a list of those physicians willing to be publicly identified. The states cautious approach was intended to address concerns about the risk that marijuana would be diverted for recreational uses. Our program ensures the availability of pharmaceutical-grade medical marijuana products for certified patients and establishes strict regulatory controls to protect public health and safety, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said Tuesday. Many patients and advocates of medical marijuana have expressed frustration not only with the 18-month implementation period but also with restrictions on the number of dispensaries and types of qualifying conditions. Julie Netherland, deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, said her organization also is concerned that many patients may have to wait longer for medication because of the delay in opening all 20 dispensaries. Even with 20 dispensaries there were going to be problems with patient access, she said. Im sure every state program has a period of working out the kinks. But for us this just reveals some of the problems with the program. The larger question here is are patients going to have access to medicine. The program cannot be declared a success until that happens. The states Department of Health has asked the five companies selected to produce and dispense the medication to develop a delivery option to get it to patients who cannot travel to one of the open dispensaries.

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