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New York State To Officially Roll Out Medical Marijuana Program This Thursday

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New York’s Department of Health has declared their medical marijuana program will be ready to roll out this Thursday.

While some dispensaries are still scrambling to get ready, at least one dispensary in the Big Apple — Columbia Care — expects to be well stocked and ready for business.

In an email fired off to reporters late Monday afternoon, Health Department spokesman James Plastiras stated

“New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program is scheduled to launch on January 7, 2016 — just 18 months after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act.”

As provided within the guidelines of New York’s Compassionate Care Act, state residents with qualifying medical conditions can obtain a recommendation from their doctor to use a non-smokable form of marijuana. Once approved by a doctor, the patients must then apply for a New York state identification card. Once received, their new state issued card will allow them to buy a non-smokable form of medication at one of the state’s 20 regulated dispensaries.

In addition to Columbia Care, which announced Monday that its Union Square dispensary plans to open this Thursday, PharmaCann will throw open the doors of their dispensary in Amherst, and a dispensary operated by Bloomfield Industries will be open for business in Williamsville. Meanwhile, New York’s other dispensaries planned for Murray Hill, the Bronx and Queens are expected to open sometime later in the month.

While officials in New York’s Health Dept. had previously stated their medical marijuana program would take root January 2016, there was precious little information provided on the number of certified physicians ready to recommend the plants many beneficial cannabinoids.

Frustrated by the lack of useful information, Julie Netherland of the Drug Policy Alliance noted “Patients in New York have been waiting a long time for the day when they can legally purchase medical marijuana. We hope the program roll out goes smoothly and that patients will finally have some relief from their suffering.”

Currently, New York’s Compassionate Care Act requires that patients seeking access to medical marijuana first be certified by a state-sanctioned physician, register with the Health Department, and obtain a state issued medical marijuana card.

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