CANNABIS IN NEW YORK STATE: JUST THE FACTS
On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) legalizing adult-use cannabis in New York State. In doing so, New York became the 15 th state in the United States to legalize cannabis use.
As a result of the enactment of the MRTA, New York established the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). The OCM will regulate and control the cultivation, processing, manufacture, distribution, transportation, and sale of cannabis in New York. This includes medical cannabis, adult-use or “retail” cannabis and cannabinoid hemp.
Below we’ve gathered key facts about New York State’s adult-use and medical cannabis programs. These facts, and more information on the cannabis program in New York, can be found at the websites listed at the end of this post.
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Medical Marijuana Information
Medical Marijuana is available to our established hematology/oncology patients. Medical marijuana is used to ease pain and discomfort. Marijuana is a plant that contains cannabinoids; chemicals that help induce drug-like effects on the body.
Two well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is capable of reducing nausea, pain, and inflammation. CBD carries the same benefits as THC without the intoxicating side effects.
Types of medical marijuana products
The most common forms to use medical marijuana include:
- Vape Cartridge/Pen
- Oral Spray
Cost of Medical Marijuana
The cost of medical marijuana varies. Plant buds cost between $5 and $20 per gram, edible products between $2 and $5 per dose, and tinctures are $15 or $20 per bottle. Discounts can be obtained by contacting a registered organization. Insurance companies are not required to cover any medical marijuana usage. A list of the registered organizations can be found at health.ny.gov/mmp.
Should I speak up about my pain?
Patients often do not report pain for different reasons. Some cancer patients feel that pain is inevitable and that they must handle it alone. It can feel embarrassing to describe the way certain types of pain or sensations feel. Your quality of life can significantly improve by speaking up.
Am I eligible for Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana can be obtained after consulting with your primary healthcare provider. The qualifying conditions to become eligible for medical marijuana in New York State include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord nerve injury with intractable spasticity
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic pain
- Opioid alternative for pain that degrades health and functional capability
- Huntington’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Substance use disorder-You must also have one of these associated or complicating conditions:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Opioid use disorder
To see if you qualify, schedule an appointment with one New York Cancer & Blood Specialists’ providers:
Dr. Roy Chen, Dr. Alexander Zuhoski, or Jonathan Catrona, PA
You can also contact the supportive & palliative care team:
Dr. Isaac Hardoon, Dr. Janaya Raynor, Dr. Cristian Zanartu, and MaryAnn Fragola, DNP, ANPc, ACHPN