NY plans to expand medical marijuana to chronic pain patients

The state Health Department announced a plan Thursday that adds people with chronic pain to the list of those who qualify to use medical marijuana.



Currently, only people with severe, debilitating or life-threatening conditions qualify to use the drug. Those conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.



Steve Chassman, of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, says he doesn't want to see people suffer, but he has concerns about people abusing the system.



"We in the drug treatment community would like to see more specifics on how they identify chronic pain other than giving a medical professional a number, 1-10," says Chassman. "You can walk in there and say you're a 10 and walk out of there with a prescription."



Donna Schwyer, of Medford, says she would like to see the proposed changes go into effect as soon as possible. She suffers from fibromyalgia.



"I need this and a lot of other people do, too," says Schwyer.



Once the change to the medical marijuana laws is proposed, there will be 45-day public comment period.


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