This Thursday marked the opening of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of New York. Only eight medical marijuana dispensaries opened in New York state for the moment. Many others are pending approval.
The grand opening on Thursday marked New York state’s entry on the growing list of states which have adhered to more lax regulations on marijuana use, particularly for medical purposes. However, the law signed into force by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2014 has been criticized for not being sufficiently relaxed. The fact that the state of New York will only see a total of 20 medical marijuana dispensaries open their doors in time counts among the hot points quoted by critics.
Two other points rank high on the critics list. Firstly, New York state included a limited number of health conditions on the list of ailments approved for treatment with medical marijuana. Secondly, marijuana cannot be sold as such. All dispensaries must offer products based on marijuana.
According to the Governor’s office, these are measures targeted at the safety of patients and New York state residents as well. The Governor doesn’t want to see a surge in criminality rates due to medical marijuana being readily available in medical marijuana dispensaries. As such, tough safeguards have been included in the law signed into effect in 2014.
Nonetheless, the fact that eight medical marijuana dispensaries opened in New York state is a sign towards liberalization of the general stance. 12 more medical marijuana dispensaries are set to open, albeit they can only offer products derived from cannabis. Such products include concentrated forms, vapors, tinctures and others.
It seems that statewide there are only 51 patients certified to receive medical-marijuana based products. However, certifying patients is a process which only kicked off on December 23rd. All patients qualifying according to the ailments list provided by New York state must first be vetted by an approved physician. The respective physician is also vetted by state authorities according to the New York state Department of Health.
For those interested, here is a quick list of the eight medical marijuana dispensaries which opened their doors in New York state on Thursday. The first in in Manhattan, on East 14th Street. One medical marijuana dispensary can be found in White Plains. Two are in the Buffalo area. Other two medical marijuana dispensaries are located in the Finger Lakes region. One dispensary is located in Albany and one in Kingston.
Photo Credits: Flickr