It looks like New York is taking two steps forward towards a more progressive cannabis legislation. Here are the latest updates when it comes to the state’s cannabis sphere:
Health department is now allowing medical cannabis as alternative to opioid.
The New York State Deparment of Health filed emergency regulations under the state’s medical cannabis program adding opioid use as one of the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis prescription.
In its news release, the health department stated that registered medical practitioners can certify patients for cannabis as a replacement for opioids. However, practitioners can do so only if the precise underlying condition for which opioid medication would otherwise be prescribed is indicated on the patient’s certification.
This new rule opens up medical marijuana as an option for many patients who are dealing with severe, non-chronic pain and who might otherwise need opioid medications for relief.
Plans for this new regulation were already announced last month. But New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker only filed last week.
Zucker’s office announced that this new rule is effective immediately. The permanent regulations will be published on August 1, 2018, in the New York State Register, and will be
Moreover, the new regulations add opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for medical pot. This will allow individuals with opioid use disorder who are enrolled in a certified treatment program to use medical cannabis.
Zucker said that medical cannabis has been shown to effectively treat pain while also reducing chances of opioid dependence. According to him, adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition offers patients another treatment option, which is a very relevant step in fighting the opioid epidemic that has affected people across the state.
In the state of New York, deaths related to opioid overdose rose 180% in 2016 with more than 3,000 deaths from more than 1,000 deaths in 2010.
Additionally, within this week, certified medical cannabis patients and designated caregivers can print temporary registry ID cards. This would allow them to buy medical cannabis products more quickly after they register for the program. Patients can use thet temporary registry ID in conjunction with a government-issuedd photo identification to buy medical cannabis products from a registered organization’s dispensary.
Before this change in the Medical Marijuana Data Management System, patients would have to wait for 7 to 10 days before they, or their caregivers, can receive their registry ID cards after their registration was approved.
New York’s medical cannabis program has more than 62,000 certified patients and nearly 1,800 registered practitioners.
State health officials recommend the legalization of recreational cannabis.
New York State health officials stated in a report that the benefits of cannabis outweigh the drug’s potential negative effects. The report also found that any concerns regarding legalization could be resolved through proper regulation.
The new report, which was released on Friday, recommended that cannabis be legalized for recreational purposes.
The report can be downloaded here.
However, even with the report, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s lawmakers will have the last say. It will be up to them to propose legislation to legalization recreational cannabis across the state.