NY State just opened its first medical marijuana clinics

New York State has just joined the medical marijuana party, but it’s going to be extremely tough to get your hands on it.

The state of New York will join nearly half of the states in the country by opening its first medical marijuana clinics. According to a report from the New York Times, certified patients in New York State will be allowed to purchase vaporizer pens, tinctures, concentrates, and other forms of marijuana at one of eight dispensaries.

While customers have reportedly visited the dispensaries already, there is no sales data to analyze at this time. This Thursday, state officials at the Department of Health revealed that only 51 patients had been approved for the medical marijuana program, the process for which only started on December 23rd.

The state’s approval process is much stricter than in other states. The law permitting the opening of dispensaries, sighed in 2014 by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, limits the amount of patients that will have access to the plant and requires that no marijuana be smoked within the state. This means that companies that grow marijuana will need to process the product into other forms before it can be consumed by patients.

The new law will allow patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkison’s disease, multiple sclerosis, intractable spasticity from damaged spinal nervous tissue, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

New York is late to the medical marijuana party, joining the ranks of states like California that passed similar measures almost 20 years ago. Unlike laws in other medical marijuana states, New York’s law will make it extremely difficult for “weed doctors” that write prescriptions for nearly any ailment imaginable to pop up. The state hopes to avoid the fate of California, where marijuana dispensaries could be found on nearly every city block before federal enforcers began to crack down.

While many people feel the regulations surrounding medical marijuana in the state of New York are harsh, proponents still view the law as a victory. People in serious need of pain relief caused by a list of serious diseases will now have the opportunity to access marijuana, and this is seen across the board as a good thing.

A press release from the New York State Department of Health regarding the program can be found here.

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