DOH wants NY to expand medical marijuana program

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

A new report from the state Department of Health recommends that more people should qualify for New York's medical marijuana program known as the Compassionate Care Act.

Dr. David Gentile, of Oasis Integrative Medicine in Rocky Point, treats many of his patients with medical marijuana. He thinks the expansion of the program is good for patients but says he wants to see more training for those who recommend it.

New York's medical marijuana program has been more restrictive than other states.

"As neighboring states continue to implement recreational marijuana programs, it is critical for New York's medical marijuana program to expand access to reach more patients suffering from severe debilitating or life threatening conditions," the DOH report says.

The DOH included a list of recommendations in the report. Officials want to allow anyone who can prescribe a controlled substance to be allowed to recommend medical marijuana. They also want to explore the possibility of patients getting medical coverage to pay for cannabis treatments and to support research of medical marijuana products.

Jeff Reynolds, CEO of the THRIVE recovery center, is a part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's working group drafting recreational marijuana legislation. Reynolds says the expansion of the medical marijuana program could also be helpful in tackling the opioid epidemic.

New York's medical marijuana program launched nearly three years ago and has about 81,000 patients.

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