Phillip Grondin

New York’s medical cannabis program — which launched on Thursday of last week — is off to a pathetically slow start. As of Friday, there were only 71 patients registered in state.

The program has already faced numerous criticisms for being far too restrictive, and the state government was accused multiple times of dragging its feet during the drafting and implementation process.

Part of the issue stems from there initially being only 51 doctors registered with the state who could legally make the recommendation for cannabis treatment. That number is now growing, but it’s clear how little the New York legislature was concerned with providing sufficient infrastructure for patients seeking medical cannabis treatment.

Additionally, there are fewer qualifying conditions for the program than in most other states, and cannabis can only be purchased/consumed in concentrated doses — which means no flower and no buds, only oral sprays, pills, and vaporizers.

In a numerical breakdown that draws attention to the program’s many issues, Celeste Stiles — writer for The Daily Chronicis dead on when she notes, “…the New York legislature passed the Compassionate Care Act in 2014, [and] lawmakers praised themselves for passing one of the most restrictive, tightly regulated medical marijuana programs in the nation. But where’s the compassion?”

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