Because New York’s medical marijuana program is so limited, with only a handful of business licenses awarded, there are large parts of the state that have no safe access points at all. New York’s patient base is very small, and scattered all over the state. This scenario is resulting in many patients going without their medicine, if they are even able to qualify as a patient. One Assemblyman wants to change that. Per Capital New York:
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried has introduced legislation that would double the number of medical marijuana manufacturers and dispensaries in the state in the hopes of giving more people better access to the drug.
The legislation, introduced Friday, would enable the state health commissioner to register at least five more organizations to manufacture medical marijuana by next Jan. 1. Each organization would be allowed to operate up to four dispensaries.
Under the state’s current program, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 and began dispensing the drug to seriously ill individuals last month, five organizations were awarded licenses to grow and distribute the drug. However, not all of them were ready to begin operating by the January start date.
This is a good idea in that it allows more people to be involved in New York’s medical marijuana industry. However, it’s a plan that doesn’t go far enough in that there are still a lot of suffering patients that won’t be able to visit those new safe access points if/when they open in their area. What New York really needs is a better medical marijuana program overall, not just one with more growers and dispensaries. There needs to be more qualify conditions added to the program, and patients need to be able to grow their own medicine.