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Medical Marijuana Program open for Registration for NY Patients, But Recommendations Are Hard to Come By

Update Date: Jan 04, 2016 04:05 PM EST

Even though medical marijuana has started growing officially in New York, it is still not clear when the patients can will be able to acquire the drug. According to the State health officials, the program is all set to launch in January as planned. However, the exact dates are not out yet. There is also no clarity about doctors who would be allowed to prescribe the medical marijuana. "I have significant concerns about the implementation of the program and how successful it will be, especially from a patient access standpoint" said Julie Netherland of the Drug Policy Alliance. Netherlands added that the health department launched an online certification course in mid-October for the doctors who would like to prescribe medicinal pot to their patients and didn't start accepting registration requests until December, as reported by NY Daily News.

According to the law, the patients that need medical marijuana need to first get certified by a state-authorized physician and then register with the health department. After their registration, the patients will be given an identification card before they are allowed to purchase the drug from one of the five licensed operators in New York. "I have yet to hear from a patient who has successfully registered," Netherland said. "What I have heard is a lot of frustration." The health department did not respond to the request from Daily News for information regarding the doctors and the patients that have successfully registered. "The Medical Marijuana Program is on schedule to begin in January," the department's press office said in an email.

"The Department of Health encourages patients who have a qualifying condition and believe they may benefit from medical marijuana therapy to speak with their treating physician about whether the medical use of marijuana is appropriate for their condition. Once the physician is registered with the medical marijuana program and concludes that medical marijuana is clinically appropriate, he or she may issue a certification for the medical use of marijuana," said Cannabis Now Magazine.

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