#NYStateofMMJ - Responsible Access in New York
On December 18, 2014 the New York State Department of Health released draft regulations about New York’s medical marijuana program for public review and comment. In our opinion, the proposed regulations can be greatly improved and, if not changed, will create serious access issues for sick New Yorkers.
To read the draft regulations please click here.
A list of our suggestions appears at the bottom of this page, but anyone who has concerns can and should make comments about the regulations before the 2/13 deadline.
In your comments you should consider including:
- Why medical marijuana is important to you personally;
- A key concern you have about the proposed regulations; and/or
- Any proposed solutions you have.
Please use the below submission box to submit your own comments on the regulations. After you press the “Submit” button your comments will be transmitted directly to the Department of Health for review.
Submit Public Comments
CCNY's Suggestions These are CCNY's suggested changes to NY's proposed medical marijuana regulations. If you agree with our suggestions, please use them to guide your own submissions.
Topic Suggestions Limited Access New York State encompasses more than 54,000 square miles and has a population of 19 million. Twenty dispensaries will not properly provide access to all who need it. In order to ensure adequate geographical access, New York State should expand the number of producers or dispensaries and allow them to implement a delivery system. No Provisions for Low-Income Patients New York’s medical marijuana program only allows for extracts, which must be vaporized in order to ingest. Both medication and the vaporizers used to ingest medication can be expensive, and insurance will likely not cover these costs. The DOH should require or create strong incentives for potential producers to include a sliding fee scale to help cover the cost of the medication and any necessary equipment. DOH should also consider using revenues from the medical marijuana program to help low-income patients access medicine and equipment. Covered Conditions There are a host of disorders - ranging from mental disorders like PTSD to physical disorders like glaucoma, that can benefit from medical marijuana but are NOT currently included in New York’s list of covered conditions.
DOH should establish a clear and transparent process and involve experts and advocates in determining additional disorders that should be included. There should be process through which patients or providers can petition to have conditions added.
Prohibition of the Whole Plant, Edibles, Topicals, Baths and Patches The draft regulations restrict the form of medical marijuana available to oils and extracts and prohibit access to the whole plant and to edibles, topical, baths, and patches. Some patients with the most severe conditions may only be able to tolerate medical marijuana in one of these prohibited forms, and many patients prefer access to the whole plant, understanding that potentially beneficial compounds may not be present in oils and extracts. Every other state with a medical marijuana program, except one, allows multiple forms of medicine. DOH should allow patients in New York access to the whole plant and to the full range of therapeutic forms available, including edibles, topicals, baths, and patches. Brand Restrictions There are dozens of therapeutic strains, each containing specific benefits for particular conditions. The DOH’s plan to limit the type of “brands” or strains that a provider can produce to five will limit the program’s ability to treat patients. Patients and doctors deserve the flexibility to find which medicine works best. DOH should not restrict the number of brands or strains. A Transparent and Cooperative Process The state has spearheaded the implementation process of the Compassionate Care Act with limited input from experts and advocates. As a result, there are several provisions that are upsetting to people looking to participate in the program. As the implementation process proceeds, a working group or advisory board should be formed. The group should include industry experts, medical professionals and advocates. Advertising Restrictions Restrictions should not prevent producers and dispensaries from educating potential patients about the medical marijuana they will be ingesting. Emergency Access At least four children have died since the medical marijuana program was signed into law. The Administration’s decision not to implement an expedited program will lead to increased suffering for thousands of New Yorkers and the possible death of more children suffering from epilepsy. DOH should take immediate steps to expedite access to critically ill patients who may not survive until the full program is operational.
Our goal is to educate decision makers on changes that will help ensure responsible, affordable access to potentially life-saving medicine for those that need it most.
Please join us and make your voice heard on this important issue.