Comprehensive Plan Balances Strong Oversight With Compassion For Patients
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the release of proposed regulations for the State’s medical marijuana program as required by the Compassionate Care Act. The proposed regulations are an important step toward making medical marijuana a treatment option in New York for individuals suffering from one of the debilitating diseases outlined in the Act. These regulations provide a comprehensive structure that will govern all aspects of the medical marijuana program in New York State.
“Today we take another step forward to provide much-needed relief to New Yorkers living with extraordinary pain, while balancing the need to safeguard general public health and safety,” Governor Cuomo said. “These proposed regulations are designed with that in mind, so that we can alleviate suffering for patients with serious conditions while also ensuring that medical marijuana is dispensed and administered responsibly.”
The proposed regulations require that medical marijuana certificates be issued only by physicians who have registered with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and received DOH-approved training. Patients with serious medical conditions would be certified by their physicians before applying for the registry identification card needed to receive medical marijuana. Certifications will be good for up to one year. Patients are also able to designate caregivers to obtain the medical marijuana for them if the caregivers have applied and been approved by DOH. The registry identification card application fee would be $50, but could be waived in cases of financial hardship.
Entities that wish to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana would apply to DOH, providing detailed plans of their infrastructure and operations, and pay a $10,000 application fee for the application review. Applicants selected for one of the five Registered Organization licenses would pay an additional $200,000 registration fee. Registered Organization licenses will last for two-years. Registered organizations would be required to maintain separate facilities for manufacturing and dispensing medical marijuana and would have to meet strict security guidelines.
The DOH Commissioner would approve the forms and delivery systems through which medical marijuana could be offered, excluding smoking, which will be prohibited. Each registered organization would initially be permitted to produce up to five types of medical marijuana products. Independent laboratory testing would verify cannabinoid content to ensure consistency. DOH would approve pricing and any advertising.
“Our goal is to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the treatment they need through a controlled, regulated process,” said acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “As an added level of security, physicians must review their patients’ history of controlled substances in the I-STOP database before a certification can be issued and before medical marijuana can be dispensed.”
The Medical Marijuana Program proposed regulations will be published in the December 31 New York State Register. The public then has 45 days to comment on the proposed regulations. A copy of the proposed regulations can be found on the Department of Health’s website at http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/docs/regulations.pdf. More information on New York’s medical marijuana program can be found at http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/.