New York's Department of Health released a progress report for the state's medical marijuana program recently with a recommendation to double the amount of allowed growers and dispensaries around the state within the next two years, giving more access where it's needed. Over half of the state's medical marijuana patient's and registered doctors are located in Long Island and New York City, making access scarce around the rest of the state. The Department of Health also recommended that nurse practitioners be given the ability to certify medical marijuana patients, just as they can prescribe other controlled substances. With easier access to medical professionals and dispensaries, more people will be able to seek out and find the relief they need from medical marijuana. Recommendations must be approved by state legislators and the governor before becoming law.
Currently, the state allows five companies to operate one growing facility and four dispensaries each. The Department of Health recommends doubling that over the next two years, which the report says will help "meet additional patient demand and increase access to medical marijuana throughout New York State."
"Allowing NPs to issue certifications for medical marijuana would allow them to properly treat patients suffering from severe, debilitating or life threatening conditions, particularly in many rural counties where there are fewer physicians available to treat such ailments," according to the report