NY Removes Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis
By: Andrew P. Cooper, Esq., LL.M. and Terran Cooper
Earlier this week the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced the launch of a new Medical Cannabis Program certification and registration system, the most notable consequence of which being the removal of the previously required qualifying conditions. The program will now allow for practitioners to certify patients for any condition that the practitioner believes can be treated with medical cannabis. This greatly expands upon the number of potentially eligible patients in the Medical Cannabis Program.
This change comes after the NY Medical Cannabis Program was shifted from the Department of Health to the OCM through the passing of the MRTA. The new certification and registration system’s official launch brings the program under the full control of the OCM and aims to provide easier use and access to medical cannabis patients.
The New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) confirmed the program expansion in their most recent January 25th meeting. In this 5th meeting, the CCB also passed resolutions delegating authority to the Executive Director (Chris Alexander) to exercise employment decisions, and to enter a Service Level Agreement with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Human Services Call Center (OCFS-HSCC). Following the passing of these resolutions, the CCB previewed the Service Level Agreement between the OCM and OCFS-HSCC.
The previously filed Regulations for Cultivation of Medical Cannabis recently concluded its 60-day public comment period on January 18th of this year. The OCM is preparing an assessment of public comment to be published in the New York State Register upon its completion.
The new certification and registration system and expansion of eligibility criteria demonstrate the OCM’s commitment to not only launching adult-use sales, but continuing cannabis access for those who need it most. The OCM has been laying the groundwork for a successful adult-use market over the course of these last five meetings, albeit at their own pace. Many New Yorkers are still waiting for further information on NY’s upcoming adult-use program, as well as the allowance of medical home cultivation. Despite incremental headway as of yet, we should begin to see real progress within the next couple of CCB meetings.
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