Lawmakers Seek to Expand New York's Fledgling Medical Marijuana Program
Medical marijuana dispensary proposals include marketing product to state's physicians:
Medical marijuana producers would be allowed to market their medicines directly to doctors, the way Big Pharma companies do, under one of the proposals lawmakers are expected to introduce soon to expand the new state program.
Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, the Senate sponsor of the act that launched New York's medical marijuana program, said the change is being proposed to enlist the interest of more doctors. A dearth of registered doctors has created an obstacle for New Yorkers seeking to buy medical marijuana and is a factor contributing to the sluggish start of the state's medical marijuana program.
Legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in mid-2014 paved the way for the medical marijuana program. The state's first retail dispensaries selling cannabis-based medicines opened early last month, but have seen little business so far.
Under New York's law, patients can buy medical marijuana only if they are certified by a doctor who has taken an online course and registered with the state. Local patients and statewide advocates have said they are having a hard time finding doctors who are registered.