Anthony Laviano

New York Makes More Changes to MMJ Program; Defines ‘Chronic Pain’

In efforts to expand the state’s medical cannabis program, New York’s Department of Health has announced they are allowing registered organizations to wholesale their products to other licensed businesses and are lifting the limit on the number of brands allowed to be sold by dispensaries.

The decision comes after an announcement last week that will see chronic pain added to the eligible condition list, and the approval of physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners to recommend the drug. Under the new rules, the department has defined chronic pain as:

“Any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability; where the patient has contraindications, has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options; and where there is documented medical evidence of such pain having lasted three months or more beyond onset, or the practitioner reasonably anticipates such pain to last three months or more beyond onset.”

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who sponsored the Compassionate Care Act, said that by lifting the number of brands available, the Department is ensuring access “for patients with rare or complex conditions.”

“I applaud Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker and Governor Andrew Cuomo for taking further steps to expand access to medical marijuana,” Gottfried said in a press release. “Allowing the companies that manufacture and sell medical marijuana to wholesale their products to other registered organizations will expand the variety of products available across the state.”

According to the release, the Department has also proposed amendments that would allow hospitals to create policies and procedures allowing registered medical cannabis patients to self-administer cannabis in a hospital. The 45-day comment period for the rule change will begin on Dec. 21.

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