Today New York announced the five companies granted permits to manufacture cannabis products for the state’s medical marijuana program. Bloomfield Industries Inc., Columbia Care NY LLC, Empire Health Solutions and Etain LLC and PharmaCann LLC will each be allowed to produce various cannabis products and open five dispensaries across the state, allowing for a total of twenty locations statewide. While it is always good to see another state allowing citizens to use an important medicine, New York’s system may put too many restrictions on access
New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfriend said he thought the permitting process lacked transparency and was “an open invitation to all sorts of allegations.” Forty-three companies applied for the permits, each of which paid a $10,000 application fee; the five selected will have to pay $200,000 more to get their permits. CEO of eCann Inc. Eddie Miller, suggested that some of the firms passed over for the license will sue, and there is a precedent for that kind of thing.
New York is the only state other than Minnesota to disallow smoking in their medical marijuana laws. Patients in New York will be allowed access to vaporizers, edibles and oils, they are not allowed to grow or produce their own medicine. The state’s medical marijuana law was given an “F+” in a report from American for Safe Access (ASA) titled “Medical Marijuana Access in the U.S.” Deputy Director of the Drug Policy AllianceJulie Netherland said that “given the current proposed sites, there are huge areas of the state where patients will have to travel enormous distances to get medicine."
Although flawed, this law will allow many New Yorkers legal access to a medicine that can be extremely therapeutic and in some situations life-saving, and that makes it a good thing. Supporters of New York’s law have said that public health concerns like regulations on purity and quality control are at the core of this system, something that is lacking in some medical states.
The laws and regulations around the cannabis plant are changing more rapidly now than perhaps they ever have before and medical marijuana laws in all states may very well be affected by Federal legislation coming down the pike.