New York recently legalized the sale and distribution of marijuana to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses. However, numerous strict regulations put in place in New York will reduce people’s access to it, and will affect how it can be consumed. First, New York is limiting the number of dispensaries to 20 statewide, owned and run by only five companies. Considering the size of New York, in many upstate communities patients will have to drive for hours to reach a dispensary. In addition, the cannabis cannot be sold in smokable or edible form. Tinctures, concentrates, capsules and vapors are permitted. The last impediment is that at present, no insurance company covers the cost of marijuana, and according to an earlier article in the New York Times, the draft regulations did not anticipate that it would be covered by Medicaid.
Patients qualify to purchase medical marijuana under New York’s program if they have specific diagnoses for which the cannabis purchase is permitted. The diagnoses include cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease and inflammatory bowel syndrome.