New York State Department of Health Announces Opioid Replacement Now a Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana

Temporary ID Cards Will be Available for Certified Patients to Purchase Products More Quickly

NEW YORK:  The New York State Department of Health today announced the filing of emergency regulations adding any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

Effective immediately, registered practitioners may certify patients to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids, provided that the precise underlying condition for which an opioid would otherwise be prescribed is stated on the patient’s certification. This allows patients with severe pain that doesn’t meet the definition of chronic pain to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids.

In addition, the regulation adds opioid use disorder as an associated condition. This allows patients with opioid use disorder who are enrolled in a certified treatment program to use medical marijuana as an opioid replacement.

Plans to add opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana were first announced last month.

“Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain that may also reduce the chance of opioid dependence,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combatting the deadly opioid epidemic affecting people across the state.”

Opioid replacement joins the following 12 qualifying conditions under the state’s Medical Marijuana Program: cancer; HIV infection or AIDS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis; spinal cord injury with spasticity; epilepsy; inflammatory bowel disease; neuropathy; Huntington’s disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; and chronic pain.

These emergency regulations went into effect on a temporary basis on July 12, 2018. The Department also filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 12, 2018, commencing the process of permanently adopting the regulations. The permanent regulations will be published in the New York StateRegister on August 1, 2018, and will be subject to a 60-day public comment period.

In addition, within the next week, certified patients and designated caregivers will be able to print temporary registry ID cards. This will allow them to purchase medical marijuana products more quickly after registering for the program. Patients may use the temporary registry ID card in conjunction with a government issued photo identification to purchase medical marijuana products from a registered organization’s dispensing facility. Prior to this enhancement to the Medical Marijuana Data Management System, it could take 7 to 10 days for patients and their caregivers to receive their registry identification cards after their registration was approved.

Other recent enhancements to New York’s Medical Marijuana Program include adopting new regulations to improve the program for patients, practitioners and registered organizations; authorizing five additional registered organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana; adding chronic pain and PTSD as qualifying conditions; permitting home delivery; and empowering nurse practitioners and physician assistants to certify patients.

As of July 10, 2018, there are 62,256 certified patients and 1,735 registered practitioners participating in the program.

Giambra Says Marijuana Tax Revenues Could Deliver $500 Million A Year

New Revenue Stream Could Help Rebuild State, Says Gubernatorial Candidate

NEW YORK:  “Conservative projections of an estimated $500 million a year in initial marijuana tax revenues for New York State could leverage enormous economic impact across the board and help rebuild our state,” says former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, an independent candidate for governor who believes the time has come to legalize the sale of marijuana.

“Nine other states have taken this step and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states,” says Giambra, who is seeking the Reform Party line for governor.  “Other states are poised to take action and according to Arcview Market Research, one of the top market research firms for the cannabis industry, legal marijuana sales were expected to hit $9.7 billion in North America in 2017 (final numbers not available yet).  We need to take marijuana off the black market and cultivate an entrepreneurial economy in New York State instead of crushing our citizens with more onerous taxes to feed the Albany political pipeline.”

Giambra said that based on research he has commissioned that he is releasing today, an excise tax of 13 percent in addition to the existing state and local sales taxes on legal adult marijuana would generate $500 million a year and could finance state bonding of $12.2 billion over five years.

“The money generated from legalizing marijuana would go a long way toward dealing with our state’s crumbling roads and bridges and help with the equally daunting challenge of fixing the broken New York City metropolitan transit system,” said Giambra.  “Legalizing the adult use of marijuana is a cornerstone of my campaign for governor.  I pledge that if I win election, it will be one of my major priorities because of the immediate economic benefits it can produce.”

Giambra said according to his analysis, every $1 billion spent on infrastructure will create 13,000 jobs directly in construction and among suppliers and thousands more indirectly, leading to more than 244,000 new jobs over seven years.

“This is a plan to rebuild New York without continuing to raise taxes,” said Giambra.  “There’s another billion dollars in taxes and fees already projected in the Albany pipeline this year to deal with a deficit estimated of at least $4.4 billion.  I think the citizens have had enough.  Let’s take marijuana off the black market, like other states have, and begin to phase in that new revenue stream and put that money to work for the people of New York.”

Legalization of marijuana also has strong public support as a 2017 Gallup Poll showed that 64 percent of Americans favor legalization, with a majority of Republicans backing it for the first time.

Upon the enactment of the cannabis regulation, Governor Giambra will ensure – if need be, by the power of the pardon – that all non-violent marijuana convictions are expunged and all individuals currently incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes are released as immediately as is practicable. Minorities in New York continue to face marijuana arrests nearly 10 times the rate of whites.

 

 

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How Healthcare Professionals Are Getting Involved In The Legal Cannabis Industry

Medical professionals and their approaches to the growing MMJ industry

By Zack M

As the medical marijuana industry continues to grow, so too does the opportunity for innovation. Healthcare professionals in particular are taking part in this boom and have been approaching the legal cannabis industry in a multitude of ways.

Education and Training

Although medical marijuana is legal in certain states, there remains a dearth of licensed healthcare professionals catering to patients wishing to seek treatment via medical cannabis. A study of physicians’ attitudes towards marijuana as conducted by Konrad and Reid concluded that whilst only 19% of respondents believed physicians should recommend medical cannabis to patients, a whopping 92% agreed that education about medical marijuana should be made available to them. As such, several organizations exist that are helping educate medical professionals about how to incorporate MMJ in their practice.

The New York State Medical Marijuana Program for instance offers practitioner education, practitioner registration, patient certification, and the identification of registered practitioners. These facilities allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients and understand the laws surrounding it with ease. 602 physicians have registered as of June 21, 2016 and many similar organizations and resources for doctors can be found online and nationwide.

Ivy league doctor, Dr. David Casarett has too recognized the lack of medical cannabis education available to not merely physicians, but patients, dispensary owners, and growers. In his book, Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana, Casarett makes compelling arguments for medical marijuana’s risks and benefits. He hopes that his book will serve as a guide and that it can address the fact that many of his “physician colleagues are realizing that [medical marijuana] is something they should know about,” adding that “they may decide that they won’t recommend [medical marijuana], but they have to know about it.”

Less conventional than that of doctors’ is the introduction of nurses to the field of medical marijuana.Unlike physicians, nurses do not legally require certification to assist patients wishing to obtain prescriptions for medical marijuana.  Just as there is a lack of physicians working with MMJ patients, even more pronounced is the absence of nurses in this respect.

Patients normally receive most of their advice from doctors and dispensary staff regarding the appropriate cannabinoids, dosage, and delivery methods. Organizations like the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) have emerged in order to fill this gap. With a mission to “advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, research, education, and policy development,” the ACNA stands as a forum and platform for education. Understanding “how and why patients are choosing this treatment” and “how this use effects other medical treatments” can help nurses better connect with their MMJ patients and ensure patients get proper therapy.

Unconventional Approaches

A new service in California called Meadow—which began as a medical marijuana delivery service—ventures outside the box in the name of convenience. It permits doctors to make house calls for medical cannabis related concerns. Services such as these help bridge the gap between potential patients and doctors and make it easier for people to receive accessible treatment.

Dermatologists too are taking advantage of the legal cannabis industry by creating topical skincare products with marijuana as the active ingredient. Some skincare experts claim that when applied topically, marijuana could make skin look younger as well as treat certain skin conditions such as dry and itchy skin.

With all these new developments in an industry only in its infancy, we can be sure to expect a future of healthcare professionals entering the field in a wider range and larger volume of ways.

Medical Marijuana Feeds Familiar Hopes Of Renewal Around New York State

NEW YORK:  Don Crawford comes from a long line of Orange County farmers. Though he no longer tends dairy cows, he still cuts hay for the thriving equestrian industry, and cringes at the creep of the suburbs.

So when a stranger came to town and announced plans to grow marijuana on the fallow land next to his, Mr. Crawford was thrilled.

“It’s better than a bunch of houses,” he said.

And it would be legal. The prospective farmer, Erik Holling, a former chief operating officer of a technology company, is vying to become one of five registered producers of medical marijuana — or medical cannabis, the term favored by those in the trade — permitted under a New York State lawcoming into effect.