However, not one patient has been able to get their hands on medical marijuana, at least not legally, since the program started. New York State does not allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own medicine. The only way medical marijuana patients in New York can get medicine is via a licensed dispensary, which there aren’t any right now. New York has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country, allowing just five companies to grow all of the medical marijuana for the entire state, and medical marijuana cannot be sold in smoke-able form.
As many activists predicted, such a limited program that grants such a limited amount of licenses would lead to patients being forced to wait for their medicine. The first step to safe access in New York is the issuing of licenses, which could occur any day now. The only silver lining in the long process of getting patients medicine in New York is that the 43 companies vying for one of the five licenses are all ready to hit the ground running. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
Several of the 43 companies that applied for licenses appear ready to hit the ground running, as they are already ramping up so they can begin cultivating as soon as possible.
Case in point: Compassionate Care Center of New York has cemented partnerships with the Israeli company Tikun Olam and the Canadian firm MedReleaf, both of which are MMJ industry leaders in their respective countries.
If Compassion Care wins a license, Tikum Olam will provide medical research and data, while MedReleaf will manage production at its cultivation facility.
Another applicant, Empire State Compassionate Care, has assembled a high-profile management team, including a former homeland security official.
Suffering patients in New York deserve better than this. They deserve to have access to medicine in all forms, and deserve to cultivate their own plants if they choose to do so. Hopefully the licenses get issued sooner than later so patients can at least make purchases at dispensaries. I just hope that the prices are reasonable. If not, patients will be forced to go back to the unregulated black market, or even worse, will be forced to go without medical marijuana altogether.