Department of Health releases proposed medical marijuana regulations

ALBANY, N.Y. — New details on the New York state medical marijuana law as the state Department of Health released 120 pages of their proposed regulations, but some are saying they’re too restrictive.

The regulations allow five registered organizations to open four dispensaries, for a total of only 20 across the state.

Only 10 illnesses qualify for treatment and a price hasn’t been determined.

When lawmakers passed this law last year, they felt it was still difficult to obtain medical marijuana, hoping the DOH regulations would alleviate that.

But now some are worried that’s not the case.

“This goes even further and makes it more and more restrictive and it calls into question whether the policy is really going to be effective,” said Assemblyman Phil Steck (D) Schenectady.

Each organization must pay a nonrefundable $10,000 to apply, but those applications can’t be submitted until the DOH adopts their final regulations.

Nancy Rivera, a four-time cancer survivor and member of Compassionate Care New York believes in the health benefits of medical marijuana.

“If I had had medical marijuana, it would have eased all the nausea and the pain and the stress that it put on my body,” she said.

But she feels slighted after reading the State Department of Health’s proposed regulations for the state’s medical marijuana law.

Rivera argues that 20 dispensaries throughout the state is not enough.

“If they have to drive 2-3 hours to a certain point it’s really difficult that way to have very few dispensaries,” she said.

When asked about final regulations, the state department said it will adopt them in the near future. Then they can start accepting applications from patients, doctors, and manufacturers. All need to apply in order to qualify.

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