NYS Senate Bill Would Expand Medical Marijuana Program

May 21, 2019 | Cannabis | Hospitals | Legislation and Public Policy | Pharmaceuticals

On May 10, a new bill was introduced into the New York Senate to expand the state’s medical marijuana program. The overall goal of the bill is to reduce the burdens on patients seeking access to medical marijuana.

The current version of the applicable statute requires that a medical condition be designated as “serious” in order to warrant a prescription for medical marijuana. The bill would remove this requirement, leaving it to the prescriber’s discretion whether to issue the prescription. At present, only physicians may prescribe medical marijuana, but the bill would allow all practitioners who can prescribe controlled substances (including nurse practitioners) to do so. The bill would also increase the permissible amount per prescription from a 30-day to a 60-day supply.

New York’s medical marijuana program is currently restricted to ten entities that have registered with the State Department of Health, called registered organizations. Although the bill would not allow any new entities to register, it would allow each registered organization to have as many as eight dispensing sites, up from the current four.

The proposed law would allow designated caregiver facilities, including hospitals and schools, to register with the state to possess, acquire, deliver, transfer, transport, or administer medical marijuana. It also proposes the creation of a medical marijuana research program that would require licenses and laboratory permits.

The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate Health Committee.

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