Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday detailed proposed regulations in creating a registry with the state Department of Health that would oversee New York’s forthcoming medical marijuana program.
The proposed regulations, which will be published on Wednesday in the New York Register for approval in mid February, would require physicians who wish to prescribe medical marijuana to undergo a training program through the state health department and patients to receive a state-approved medical marijuana registry identification card.
Entities that wish to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana would have to provide extensive plans of their infrastructure and operations and pay a $10,000 application fee for review and a $200,000 registration fee if selected as one of five distribution sites approved by the state.
“Today we take another step forward to provide much-needed relief to New Yorkers living with extraordinary pain, while balancing the need to safeguard general health and safety,” Cuomo said. “These proposed regulations are designed with that in mind, so that we can alleviate suffering for patients with serious conditions while also ensuring that medical marijuana is dispensed and administered responsibly.”
New York last June became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana through legislation called the Compassionate Care Act, which received approval from the state Assembly and state Senate prior to the conclusion of the summer’s legislative session. Cuomo signed the bill into law in July.
The law limits eligibility to purchase medical marijuana to patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy and Huntington’s disease. It also prohibits patients from smoking medical marijuana and possessing more than a 30-day supply at a time.
Cuomo on Thursday said patients would have to first be certified by their physicians to apply for the registry identification card, which would last up to one year.
The state would also allow patients to designate a caregiver to purchase medical marijuana on their behalf, but caregivers would also have to register with the state health department and pay a $50 application fee.
The proposed regulations also require organizations approved as distributors maintain separate facilities for manufacturing and dispensing medical marijuana and undergo regular independent laboratory testing of the drug to ensure consistent potency. Licenses for distributors would last two years.
The state health department would also set the pricing and advertising on medical marijuana products.
“Our goal is to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the treatment they need through a controlled, regulated process,” said acting State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.