On Monday, September 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that adds acute pain management to the list of approved conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid use. This new law formalizes regulations the New York State Department of Health issued in July, which added opioid replacement and opioid use disorder to the list.
This is great news for patients! Access to medical marijuana is no longer limited to those suffering from chronic pain. This bill and regulations allow more patients who could benefit from medical marijuana a safe and effective alternative to highly addictive opioids.
Find more information on New York’s medical marijuana program, including the list of qualifying conditions and how to register, here.
Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will hold a series of “listening sessions” to gather input on marijuana legalization from community members and stakeholders. Input will assist in drafting legislation to tax and regulate marijuana for adults’ use.
If you’re a New York resident, don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard. Sign up to attend a listening session here.
Fifteen listening sessions will be carried out throughout the state in the following locations: Albany, Glens Falls, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, Newburgh, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Watertown. The first listening session is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5 in Albany. Find the full list of listening sessions here.
You can find resources on marijuana regulation and legalization on our legalization issues page, including reasons to legalize marijuana, background on how legalization is working in Washington and Colorado, and data showing teen marijuana use hasn’t increased after legalization.
It’s vital that lawmakers and the governor hear that their constituents want to replace marijuana prohibition with thoughtful regulation. Please spread the word, and voice your support!
We’ve known for years that marijuana laws disproportionately harm people of color, but the results of a recent New York Times investigation are still shocking. According to the report:
- Black New York City residents are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites; Hispanic residents are five times more likely.
- During the first three months of this year, 89% of the 4,000 marijuana arrests in New York City were Black or Hispanic.
It doesn’t make sense to arrest an adult for possessing or consuming marijuana, but the racial disparities in these arrest rates make the injustice of marijuana prohibition even more intolerable.
The situation in New York City is so morally indefensible that the Manhattan district attorney announced his office will no longer prosecute low-level marijuana cases, and Mayor Bill de Blasio is directing police to stop arresting people for public consumption of marijuana.
Those are positive steps, but the solution is to repeal the destructive policy of marijuana prohibition.
New York has recently been making significant progress on expanding its overly restrictive medical marijuana program, but many patients are still left out due to the state’s limited list of qualifying conditions. Please ask your state lawmakers to support bills that would address this problem. These bills are:
A08904 / S07755 — eliminates the list of qualifying conditions and instead allows a medical professional to recommend medical cannabis for any “severe debilitating or life-threatening condition, or symptom or complication or its treatment”
A09016 / S07564 — adds opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition
A00582 — adds dysmenorrhea (pain related to menstrual cramps) as a qualifying condition
A09869 — adds autism as a qualifying condition
While adding qualifying conditions is certainly helpful (which is why MPP led an effort last year that resulted in the addition of PTSD), eliminating the list and allowing medical professionals to recommend cannabis for any serious condition is even better. If you are a New York resident, please ask your lawmakers to respect the practitioner/patient relationship.
This proposal is a change from the governor’s past views on the topic; he previously said he was opposed to legalization, citing the now-debunked “gateway theory” as the reason. In fact, marijuana is simply a gateway to the criminal justice system and the lifetime of collateral consequences that come with a conviction.
While this is encouraging news, a study commission is only as good as the experts who serve on it. Please help us ensure that the commission includes experts in public health, marijuana policy, and criminal justice reform as well as the law enforcement officers Gov. Cuomo mentioned would be on it.
A bipartisan bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for New York’s medical marijuana program was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during Veterans Day weekend. The Senate passed S 5629 in June (50-13), and the Assembly version, A 7006, received overwhelming approval in May (131-8). New York is the 28th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.
“Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of New York veterans find relief with medical marijuana,” said Bob Becker, Legislative Director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “PTSD is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering.”
Thank you to all of our supporters who joined our efforts by contacting your elected officials. It is because of your dedication we were able to get the PTSD bill signed in New York.
New York is one of the only states that does not list post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for its medical marijuana program. The state got one step closer to remedying that today, when the Assembly voted overwhelmingly (101-6) to approve A 7006. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Twenty-four of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs allow patients with PTSD to qualify. Two of those that do not (Colorado and Alaska) allow all adults 21 and up to legally purchase and use marijuana, and two (Vermont and Colorado) have already had a bill to add PTSD pass in both chambers of the state’s legislature. PTSD can have a devastating impact on patients’ quality of life, and while it can be caused by any traumatic event, it’s particularly common among veterans who have served our country.
If you are a New York resident, please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support this legislation.
New York recently expanded its medical marijuana program by adding chronic pain, but there is an important group of patients who are still left out — those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Twenty-four of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs allow patients with PTSD to qualify, but New York still does not. A 7006 and S 5629 would change that; please ask your legislators to support these bills.
Last week, the Assembly Health Committee voted unanimously to approve A 7006, and it now heads to the Assembly floor.
There are only two drugs that are FDA-approved to treat PTSD, and neither has been shown to be more effective than a placebo. Both of these drugs, and others commonly prescribed “off-label,” have dangerous side effects that cannabis does not. Many veterans — including an estimated 20% of those who served in Iraq — suffer from PTSD, which leads to the tragically high suicide rate among returning veterans. Shouldn't those who have served our country have access to any treatment that might help ease their suffering?