By Alizeh Siddiqui
According to WSHU.org, New York's health department is asking permission from the federal government to import out-of-state medical marijuana until its own program is able complete the regulatory process.
The program requires the health department to establish rules and license marijuana production companies. The health department, however, says that it will take until 2016 to get the program started.
Until then, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration has requested the Department of Justice to permit importation of medical marijuana from states with existing functional programs.
Although the federal government could potentially grant such a waiver, or simply exercise prosecutorial discretion, patients in the Empire State should not hold their breath.
MPP's Rachelle Yeung says the federal government has been slow to recognize the medical benefits of marijuana, and that Gov. Cuomo has been equally slow to implement medical marijuana.
"I don't want to speculate as to his motivations, but as governor of the state of New York, there are ways to expedite the process without asking for special permission from the federal government."
Furthermore, Yeung relays that it typically takes years for the federal government to allow researchers access to medical marijuana. To avoid this delay, she and other marijuana advocacy groups are urging Cuomo's administration to accelerate the regulatory and production processes within the state.