ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The long wait is finally over as New York’s medical marijuana program has launched across the state.
On Thursday, Etain LLC was the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Albany. The company also opened another facility in Kingston.
“No one has ever done this in this time frame,” Etain COO Hillary Peckham said.
Etain displayed their products and how patients can take them to the media as part of their opening.
“You can inhale it,” Peckham explained. “It’s a metered inhaler.”
But there are multiple options for ways patients can take the medication such as vape pens, capsules, or an oral spray. Different colored bottles are for different THC amounts.
“They’ll have to have a certification card and ID,” Peckham said. “They’ll fill out some forms, and then they’ll be escorted into a dispensing area.”
Although they were open for business with a pharmacist behind the counter, not a single patient dropped by.
“You have to have both the ID card and the recommendation when you come in,” Peckham said.
With little guidance from New York State Department of Health, many families said they’ve had a hard time finding a doctor who can prescribe the medicine.
“It’s not uncommon for anything new to take time and to have some bumps in the road,” Assemblyman John McDonald said. “Not uncommon at all.”
McDonald went through the challenging legislative process to see the medical marijuana program become a reality.
“It’s completely understandable that everyone is moving at severe caution,” he said. “Let’s not forget, marijuana at the federal level is still forbidden.”
Patients can expect to spend at least a couple hundred dollars a month when they’re ready to buy.
“Patients can expect to spend anywhere from $300 to $1,200 a month,” Peckham said.
The cost depends on how concentrated the medicine is and which delivery system a patient chooses. But first, they have to see those patients walk through the doors.
“We expected growing pains with the program,” Peckham said.
Currently, Etain remains a nondescript building on North Pearl Street in Albany. Signs will not be put up until next week.
Vireo Health is still working to get its dispensary up and running.
PharmaCann, which will have a dispensary at 10 Executive Dr. in Colonie, said it expects to open by next week.