22 Jan Medical Use of Marijuana Under the Compassionate Care Act
On July 7th, 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law the Compassionate Care Act to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program (“program”). Just eighteen months after the Compassionate Care Act was signed into law, the first New Yorkers obtained medical marijuana. The program continues to oversee the manufacture and sale of medical marijuana to ensure that it is dispensed and administered in a manner that protects public health and safety. Since the implementation of the program, a number of improvements have been made to better serve patients suffering from serious conditions in New York State. Program improvements include the authorization of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to certify patients for medical marijuana, increasing the number of organizations registered to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana, expanding the list of qualifying conditions to include chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder and any condition for which an opioid may be prescribed, allowing registered organizations to wholesale to other registered organizations, and allowing registered organizations to deliver medical marijuana products to the homes of patients or their caregivers. These efforts, along with those of the registered organizations and practitioners who participate in the program, contributed to an overall increase of 1,124% in the number of certified patients in the past two years.