New York State Department of Health Announces New Regulations to Improve State’s Medical Marijuana Program for Patients, Practitioners, and Registered Organizations

August 24, 2017

Published on New York State Department of Health August 10, 2017

ALBANY, NY (August 10, 2017) – The New York State Department of Health today announced a new set of regulations that will continue the expansion of the state’s Medical Marijuana Program, while improving its experience for patients, practitioners and registered organizations alike. Once adopted, the new regulations will allow for the sale of additional medical marijuana products,an improved experience for patients and visitors at dispensing facilities and the addition of new courses that will allow prospective practitioners to complete their training in a shorter amount of time.

“This is yet another positive step forward for New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “These regulations will continue to improve the program in several ways, including making new forms of medical marijuana available and improving the dispensing facility experience.”

New Regulations‎ to Improve Program Experience for Patients, Practitioners and Registered Organizations

Expanding the Variety of Medical Marijuana Products

Under the new regulations, registered organizations will be allowed to manufacture and distribute additional products including topicals such as lotions, ointments and patches, as well as solid and semi-solid products including chewable and effervescent tablets and lozenges. Certain non-smokable forms of ground plant material will also be permissible for manufacture and distribution. All products will be subject to rigorous testing and the Department will reserve the right to exclude inappropriate products or those which pose a threat to the public.

Improving the Dispensing Facility Experience

The new regulations will also allow prospective patientsand practitioners to enter a dispensing facility to speak directly with an RO representative, learn about products, and get information about the medical marijuana program.In addition, these measures will allow people other than designated caregivers to accompany certified patients to the dispensing facility.

Refining the Training Program for Practitioners

Based on feedback from practitioners,the Department’s proposed regulations will allow for shortened versions of the practitioner’s course required to certify patients for medical marijuana, in addition to the currently available four-hour courses.The Department will work with course providers to offer a two-hour course, which is similar to other medical education courses.

Other Regulatory Actions

In addition, the proposed regulations also make a number of changes to help enhance the medical marijuana program. These changes include broadening the capability of registered organizations to advertise, streamlining the manufacturing requirements for medical marijuana products, amending security requirements, and clarifying laboratory testing methods, among other actions.

The proposed regulations will be published in the New York State Register on August 23, 2017. They will then be subject to a 30-day public comment period before they can be adopted.

Recent Enhancements to New York’s Medical Marijuana Program

The Department continues to make improvements to the New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program in order to better serve patients. Last week, the Department authorized five registered organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in New York State, which will improve patient access, product pricing and availability and the geographic distribution of dispensing facilities across the state.

Other recent enhancements to the state’s Medical Marijuana Program includeadding chronic pain as a qualifying condition, empowering nurse practitioners and physician assistants to certify patients,permitting home delivery and publishinga list of registered practitioners who have consented to be listed publicly.

As of August8, 2017, there were26,561 certified patients and1,155 registered practitioners participating in the program. The number of certified patients has increased by11,569 (77 percent) since the addition of chronic pain in late March.