NY regulators ease access to medical cannabis

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 3:16 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - As New York makes moves toward regulating recreational use of marijuana it is also taking steps to improve access to its medical marijuana program. Our Kelly O’Brien looks at changes for patients and why the medical marijuana community says it’s about time.

New York’s Cannabis Control Board earlier this month approved changes to make it easier to get medical marijuana easier to get in the Empire State. “These changes and enhancements to the program become effective immediately,” said the board’s Tremaine Wright at their October 5th meeting.

The changes include allowing more physicians to get a license to prescribe it and allowing them to decide which medical conditions qualify, not the state. Patients can also now get a 60 day supply, double what was allowed before.

“This expansion is really significant to patients,” said Kirsten Bezio with Curaleaf, a Plattsburgh dispensary. She says they are currently the only one in the area. “As south as Schenectady County and Saratoga County and then going as far as Jefferson and St. Lawrence County -- basically covering the entire North Country.”

She works on educating patients on different methods of taking marijuana. She says allowing doctors to make the decisions will open doors to patients considering cannabis. “This is going to allow the patient to choose the best form of administration that works for their health and wellness,” Bezio said.

Shops can now sell whole flowers too and Bezio says Curaleaf is working to bring that option to customers. “The patient can essentially take the flower and use it however they want. They can make their own edibles or tinctures at home, but it gives them a more affordable option,” she said.

Curaleaf is still in the testing stages for whole flowers and waiting to be certified by the Department of Health. They could have it in stores by mid-November.

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