The fight for safe access to medical marijuana in New York has not been an easy one. Patients and advocates have been fighting for years to get medical marijuana legalized in New York. Medical marijuana was legalized in New York last year, but the program left a lot to be desired. Patients cannot grow their own medicine, and instead must purchase it from a licensed dispensary, which obtained the medicine from a licensed grower. The problem is that there are no dispensaries yet. But that will change in January. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
One of the five companies that received initial approval for a medical cannabis business license in New York is planning for a January opening near Union Square in Manhattan.
Columbia Care, which also has licenses in Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, DC, will run the New York City dispensary.
Though that timeline may sound ambitious given that licenses were just awarded at the end of July, the five companies are legally bound to open within six months of receiving their permits. That means they only have until the start of February to start serving customers, otherwise they risk losing their licenses.
On one hand it's going to be great to see patients in New York finally being able to legally obtain medical marijuana, but on the other hand it's bittersweet because New York's program still needs a lot of improving. I'm also worried about supply shortages and price gouging. That's what seems to be the norm in states that only allow a handful of entities to grow and distribute medical cannabis. All the while patients suffer. That's unacceptable. New York patients deserve a better program.