Medical Marijuana

NY: Medical marijuana program adds acute pain management as qualifying condition

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.

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Tax and Regulate

New York: Series of “listening sessions” on legalization begins

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!

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Prohibition

Injustice in NYC: marijuana arrests far more likely for minorities

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.

 

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Medical Marijuana

N.Y. Lawmakers Consider Expanding Medical Marijuana Program

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.

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Research

New York Governor Calls for Legalization Study

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in announcing his budget proposal, included a call for a study of the impact on New York of legalizing the adult use of marijuana.

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.

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Medical Marijuana

NY Governor Signs Bill Adding PTSD as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program

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.

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Medical Marijuana

New York Health Dept. Proposes Medical Marijuana Improvements

Aug 10, 2017

Dept. of Health, New York, NY

The New York Department of Health proposed additional changes to the state’s medical marijuana program today. While the official proposed regulations will not be released until August 23, the changes appear to be very positive. Once the rules are released, the public will have 30 days to comment.
New forms of medicine would be allowed, including topicals and chewable lozenges, as well as “[c]ertain non-smokable forms of ground plant material,” which will hopefully be clarified in the full text of the regulations. Having whole plant cannabis available for vaporization could dramatically reduce prices for patients, and we will seek to make sure it’s permitted.
Other changes would reduce burdens on medical professionals, hopefully encouraging more of them to participate. For more information and the complete list of proposed changes, you can read the Department of Health’s full announcement.

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Medical Marijuana

New York House Approves PTSD Bill

May 02, 2017 Kate Bell

A 7006, New York, NY, PTSD

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.

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Medical Marijuana

New York Could Add PTSD to Qualifying Conditions

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?

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Medical Marijuana

New York Closer to Allowing Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain

Dec 05, 2016 Kate Bell

chronic pain, Department of Health, New York, NY, opioids

On Dec. 1, the New York Department of Health announced that it will add chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the medical marijuana program. It will publish proposed rules, “which will include language specifying the chronic pain conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana.”2000px-flag_of_new_york_city-svg
Under current law, patients only qualify if their pain is caused by one of a few qualifying conditions. Allowing medical cannabis for patients with chronic pain will vastly expand the number of seriously ill patients who can enroll in the program. Medical cannabis can reduce patients’ reliance on dangerous opioids and lead to a statewide reduction in opioid overdoes.
Once the Department of Health publishes its proposed rules, the public will have the opportunity to comment before they become final. Stay tuned for more information about how you can submit your comments, and please pass the good news on to other compassionate New Yorkers.

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