For the first time in New York State’s history, the distribution of medical marijuana was legalized on Jan. 7, 2016.
The New York State Medical Marijuana Program allows those diagnosed with life threatening conditions accompanied or associated with a complicating condition to receive the treatment of medical marijuana. The state has compiled a list of the conditions they feel would be beneficial for the law such as Cancer, HIV or AIDS and Parkinson’s disease.
Because the law is new, the Commissioner of Health, Howard A. Zucker, is actively analyzing what conditions should be added to the list. Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy and posttraumatic stress disorder are currently being looked into to see if they should be added onto the program.
The Commissioner also has control over the forms of medical marijuana. Although it is now legalized, there are still limitations as to what qualifies for it’s distribution and consumption. Under The Compassionate Care Act, smoking medical marijuana or using edibles are still not permitted. The approved forms by New York State include liquid and oil vaporization orally or under the tongue, administration through inhaler, or taking a capsule orally.
To be able to obtain treatment with medical marijuana, your physician must deem it as appropriate for your medical needs, and he or she must be registered with the state Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. Once deemed as appropriate, your physician will issue you the certification for the use of the state’s medical marijuana. After purchasing and receiving your certificate, you must apply for registration online to be given a state administered registry ID card.
Studies have shown that the use of marijuana in cancer patients can serve as beneficial for reducing neuropathic pain, and that people under its use have been able to reduce their intake of pain medications.
Fine arts student Sam Caruso is one of many who know how marijuana can positively affect those with cancer. “One of my friends had cancer,” said Caruso. “It helped her a lot before she passed away,” she said.
“I’ve heard that it is possible for marijuana to stop the spread of cancer because of a specific chemical it contains,” said human services major Aileen May. May believes that medical marijuana plays a large role in the progression of New York’s health care system, as well as a benefit for those with various diseases.“I think that it will help slow the progression of diseases and help [people] relax, as well as ease pain,” she said.
As of Jan. 21, 265 physicians had been registered for the New York State Medical Marijuana Program, and 295 patients had been certified by their doctors. Despite the process being slow, these numbers are growing daily and providing patients of New York State medical marijuana as an attainable source of medical assistance.