New York state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors on Thursday under strict state regulations emphasising secure use.
Eight medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors statewide. Many more will follow pending approval by state regulators. The eight that are already in business are offering several products based on marijuana. Tinctures, vapors, concentrated forms and others are on the menu for patients in different categories. With just one day in business, it’s still unclear if the eight dispensaries providing patients with medical marijuana products actually gave anything away.
Several customers did however cross the doorsteps of the facilities. Officials with the state’s Department of Health declared that currently there are only 51 patients who are certified to receive medical marijuana products statewide. The certification process took off on December 23rd. It is also a lengthy and severely regulated process that asks a patient be vetoed by a physician who is registered to do so with the state authorities.
New York state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors, albeit the number of certified patients is still low. Among the eight medical marijuana dispensaries, one is located in Manhattan, East 14th Street. Another dispensary is located in White Plains, two medical marijuana dispensaries can be found in the Buffalo area and another two are in the Finger Lakes region. Kingston also has one medical marijuana dispensary and Albany one.
Certified patients looking for relief products in the medical marijuana dispensaries have a card in white and purple stating they are allowed to receive medical marijuana products. One patient quoted by the New York Times declared after paying a visit to one of the medical marijuana dispensaries:
“I spoke with the pharmacist, spoke with the people. They were as excited about seeing me as I was excited about seeing them”.
In 2014, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law that allowed New York to join the over 20 states in the medical marijuana market. Years of lobbying have finally brought results in liberalizing the medical marijuana prospects in the state. One year since the law has passed, the regulations encapsulated in the law are still the target of heavy criticism.
Among the points made by critics, the most severe are the fact that the state has approved only 20 medical marijuana dispensaries to be opened statewide. In addition, the list of ailments for which patients can receive the products on the dispensaries’ offering is very limited. Moreover, marijuana cannot be smoked. Thus, all dispensaries must have products derived from the drug.
Photo Credits: Flickr