New York is a progressive city known for its iconic skyscrapers, high cost of living, and vibrant community. However, this fast-paced lifestyle sometimes takes its toll on its residents. Chronic disease and cancer are the leading causes of death and disability among New Yorkers. These ailments are not only expensive to treat -they are also incapacitating.
Understanding that medical progress needs to take place, the state’s Department of Health (DOH) and lawmakers have approved of the Compassionate Care Act that enables people with life-threatening and debilitating conditions to attain a medical marijuana card in New York. What are the provisions included in this bill, and what are the responsibilities of the parties involved?
Patients eligibility for a Medical Marijuana Card
Only certified New York residents can obtain medical marijuana cards upon the certification of a registered health care practitioner. To get this certification, it should show that medical marijuana can have a therapeutic benefit to their condition. Since its approval in 2014, there have been around 98,000 New Yorkers who have benefitted from this program. Half of this number have chronic pain problems.
Around 23% of them are 51-60 years, while 19% are 61-70 years old. After getting their certification from a verified practitioner, they must register their requests online. They can also register up to two caregivers who can buy and administer medical marijuana for them. Once approved by the department, they can get their IDs within 7-10 working days.
Health care practitioners and designated caregivers
Around 1,700 doctors, nurses and caregivers are registered to New York’s Medical Marijuana Program. To be certified, they must be in good standing as health care providers. Additionally, they should complete a Commissioner-approved course on the prescription and usage of medical marijuana.
Once certified, they are required to report all registered patients under their care to DOH for monitoring. It’s not allowed for doctors to declare themselves as patients in need of this regulated substance. New York also requires caregivers to have no more than five certified patients under their care and they should be above 21 years old.
Dispensaries providing Medical Marijuana
New York currently has ten registered organizations that are allowed to provide medical marijuana to certified patients. Each registered organization has different products that they are selling. However, they are required to sell at least one brand that has a high CBD and low THC ration and another brand that has an equal ratio of CBD to THC. They are only allowed to supply 30-days worth of approved medical marijuana dosage to their patients. Furthermore, they are required to submit the records of their buyers to the New York State Prescription Monitoring Program so that prescribers can have access to the history of their patients.
New York’s DOH
New York’s DOH is the overall in charge of monitoring patient registration and health care provider certification. They are also responsible for conducting laboratory testing for all the products released by the registered organization.
They can also loosen or tighten the restrictions on the usage of the law’s implementation if they find a need to modify it. New York has made a lot of tweaks from the initially restrictive regulation of the program. However, all have been for the betterment of their constituents.
Obtaining a medical marijuana card in New York is not an easy process. There are many regulations and responsibilities attached to those who are part of the program. Nonetheless, all of these are necessary to ensure patients’ safety and quality of life.
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