While it will be at least two months before the majority of New York medical marijuana patients have access to medicine, those who qualify as critically ill will now be able to receive it sooner. Governor Andrew Cuomo approved two bills establishing an “emergency medical marijuana” program in the Empire State. This program permits the Department of Health to accelerate the accessibility of medical cannabis products to the states’ critically ill patients.
Now, in cases where delaying the use of cannabis may pose serious health risks and patients suffering from progressive or degenerative conditions will be able to obtain to a state license granting them immediate access to medical marijuana before the state’s medical cannabis program officially launches in 2016. Governor Cuomo, included a statement with his signature approving the emergency program,
“I deeply sympathized with New Yorkers suffering from serious illness, and I appreciate that medical marijuana may alleviate their chronic pain and debilitating symptoms.”
The Health Department will now be permitted to register additional medical cannabis producers who may be able to provide products more quickly or “as soon as practicable.” The programs’ partial goal will be to give preference to those already operating in other legal states that may be able to provide medical cannabis products “in a more expeditious manner.”
While the approval of the emergency program is a great news for many, it is bittersweet for at least one New York family. Sarah Newton and her husband lost their daughter Olivia, while waiting for the program to be implemented so that they could treat her with legal medical marijuana.
“We’re elated that this has passed and at the same time we’re heartbroken, we’re absolutely heartbroken,”
Newton said, explaining that she wishes action could have been taken sooner.