In July 2014, New York legislators passed medicinal marijuana legislation titled the Compassionate Care Act.

The name is fitting, as it allows patients with certain conditions to be treated with cannabis for relief of symptoms such as nausea, severe and chronic pain, seizures and muscle spasms. Like many other states, patients will be required to register for the program and be treated by a doctor licensed to prescribe marijuana.

Patients can officially start receiving the medicine in January 2016, and the New York Department of Health is hard at work getting everything in order so that the program can begin without delay. Health officials are currently in the process of selecting five companies that will be in charge of growing, producing and distributing the marijuana throughout the state.

Over 40 companies applied for licenses to be producers for the medical marijuana program, and each application came with its own business model and ideas. As this program has never before been implemented in New York, DOH employees have their hands full trying to figure out which companies are best suited to the job.

One of the applicants, Hillary Peckham, applied to open Etain, LLC with her mother and sister. Peckham stated:

“There’s no one in New York who actually has legal experience doing this, so everyone’s starting from a blank slate. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do this. You just need the training.”

Hillary and her family own Peckham Industries, and pursued licensure in part for very personal reasons. Their grandmother was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) more than two years ago. Doctors recommended cannabis to ease the symptoms, but she was never able to receive the treatment because it was illegal at the time.

etain new yorkAnticipated building design for Etain, LLC

Other applicants include a team of over two dozen physicians who submitted an application that was 66,000 pages long. In addition to these, an eye care company proposes building greenhouses in various locations across the state, and a tomato plant plans to switch to medical marijuana production if selected for a license.

The DOH has released the names of the applicants, but has not commented on any other details regarding criteria for selection. Each of the five companies that become licensed will be allowed to open four dispensaries across the state, and those 20 locations would serve the state’s 20 million residents.

If selected, they will not only have the chance to build a highly lucrative business from scratch, but will also be able to help thousands of patients across the state.

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