NEW YORK: While states like Washington, Colorado and Alaska have enacted laws decriminalizing weed, New York is only now moving forward with a plan to legalize medical marijuana. However, when the lawmakers in Albany do finally sign off on the bill, the state’s Health Department has placed so many restrictions on medical marijuana that many of its potential patients won’t be able to get their hands on it. For those who do qualify, another odd restriction dictates that the medical marijuana can’t be smoked.
The New York Times reports that the new bill would only allow for 20 medical dispensaries, run by five organizations, to be established throughout the state, which would handcuff accessibility for many potential patients. Only patients suffering from a shortlist of 10 “severe debilitating or life-threatening” conditions, ranging from multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease to ALS and AIDS, would be allowed to acquire medical marijuana.
The Health Department’s bill also defines “terminally ill” as patients with a “life expectancy of one year or less,” a restriction that would prevent the elderly from accessing the drug. Perhaps strangest of all, the law prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana. Instead, the drug will be administered as an “individual dose” of raw or concentrated “ingestible or sub-lingual” medical marijuana.