Although the recently passed law of medical marijuana in NY may have brought a rise of applause or debate, the pathway toward actual usage appears to be farther off than one might expect.
A Quick Run-Down of What Needs to Occur First:
- The program can not begin until the superintendent of the state police and the health commissioner can assure the system can be administered consistent with public health and safety.
- A regulatory commission set up by the governor will regulate the price – not the manufacturers or distributors.
- Doctors and practitioners will be required to first attend a 2-4 hour course as predetermined by the commission on the regulation before having the ability to recommend a certification of a participant.
- Certification cards will need to be issued – including a photo of the applicant/caregiver.
- The commissioner must approve the distributors and the testing labs to allow for accurate product.
- The commissioner must develop and approve an informational insert(such as those given for other prescriptions).
- Only a handful of registered organizations will be allowed the main registration certifications and those companies may have subsidiaries that can distribute and so forth.
Other Stipulations Within Law:
- Consuming the drug via smoking will not be an option, nor will it be legal to grow your own.
- The method of consumption, particular strain, and potency will all be regulated by both the doctors and the commission.
- Caregivers and patients can only have within their possession a thirty day supply labeled in the form(s) allowed by their practitioner.
- People who have obtained the approved certification card will not be protected from prosecution if they use it in any form in public.
- A department will maintain a confidential list of card holders which will be exempt to disclosure from Article 6 of the Public Officers Law.
- Caregivers can only work with up to 5 people at a time who are certified to use medical marijuana.
- Yearly renewals of certifications may be necessary unless the practitioners attest to a terminally ill patient who will use it until the date of his/her death.
- The department may verify, consult, and inform law enforcement personnel when a violation of a card owner occurs.
- At anytime, the governor can revoke all certifications based upon recommendations from the commissioner and/or the superintendent of the state police department.
Clearly there is a long road ahead for those who are suffering and are waiting for relief. With so many ambiguous statements within the bill, it will be surprising when and how the actually system comes to be.
In the meantime, those that are still opposed appear to have the ability to sway the commission and state police officials with a possibly reversal via studies, statistics and more. For the savvy businessman, this may not seem like the most secure start-up business, since the plug can be pulled at any time.
New Yorkers will just have to sit tight while bureaucratic red tape gets finalized and watch for companies willing to take the leap into a business so heavily regulated. For more information on eligibility, see the article found at The National Law Review.