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WIRE: New York health officials seek to expand medical marijuana access

Albany, NY — Health officials have announced changes to the state’s medical marijuana program in an effort to increase patients’ access to the cannabis-derived products.

Under the newly proposed rules, physician assistants will have the option to recommend cannabis therapy to qualified patients. A separate amendment to the law allowing nurse practitioners to issue recommendations took effect on November 30.

Another amendment seeks to add chronic pain as a state-approved qualifying condition. Patients suffering from debilitating or intractable pain are presently not eligible under state law to qualify for cannabis therapy.

Health officials have also recommended doubling the number of state-licensed marijuana cultivators and providers and permitting home delivery of cannabis products.

New York’s nascent medical cannabis program permits qualified patients to obtain cannabis-infused products (e.g., oils, tinctures, extracts) from one of 20 state-licensed dispensaries. Nearly 11,000 patients are participating in the program.

For more information, please contact Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.

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