Several new bills have been introduced into the New York legislature that would help reshape the struggling medical marijuana program in the state. It seems the primary issues revolve around the lack of doctors getting involved in the program (421 out of 90,000), the limited list of qualifying conditions, and ease of access to a local dispensary. Each of these have been addressed through these new bills. If passed, marijuana businesses would be able to market directly to physicians, hopefully closing the gap on the uncertainties of medical cannabis. Alzheimer's, traumatic brain injury, dystonia, muscular dystrophy, wasting syndrome, PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus would all be added as qualifying conditions. And lastly, the limited number of dispensaries in the state would double from 20 to 40.
"The program --as restricted in the legislation and restricted even more by (Department of Health) regulations -- I think is almost guaranteed to not work very well, and I think that's what we're seeing," Gottfried said. "These bills would basically bring the medical marijuana program more in line with the rules governing other controlled substances, including drugs that are highly dangerous, which medical marijuana is not."