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New York Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Face Local Opposition

new york medical marijuana

(via wikipedia.com)

New York’s Governor signed a medical marijuana legalization bill into law in 2014. The law created one of the most strict medical marijuana laws in the country, and allocated business licenses to only a handful of entities. Those applying for licenses, and especially the winners, seemed to all brag at the time that this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Some of them seemed to have forgotten one very important detail – getting local governments on board.

The ‘not in my backyard’ position is one that some New York municipalities are taking. This will either lead to some dispensaries not opening in those areas at all, or at the very least, will likely lead to delays. New York’s medical marijuana program already had enough problems, and this ‘new’ hurdle won’t help. I say ‘new’ because this is dispensary 101 at this point, and the concept of checking with local governments should have been one of the first steps.

Below is more information about the issue, via excerpts from an article in Capital New York:

Five of the 20 dispensary locations, which the state sanctioned, have not been finalized yet by the local governing body, meaning that patients in large areas of the state could be left without access to the drug.

The apparent lack of readiness alarmed patient advocates, who were already concerned that the state’s program was too limited to provide statewide access.

POLITICO New York called every municipality or community board where a dispensary is scheduled to open. In some cases, local officials and representatives were adamantly opposed. In others, they outlined zoning and permitting concerns. And in still others they were surprised to learn a dispensary would soon come to their neighborhood, even though the state announced locations in August.

The community board representing Elmhurst in Queens, where an Empire State Solutions dispensary is located, said they expect community members to oppose a dispensary in their neighborhood.

As I’ve said many times before, suffering patients in New York deserve better than this. Patients deserve to grow their own medicine, or if they are not able to do so, they should be able to designate someone who can. Dispensaries should exist too for those that have no cultivation options, or would rather just purchase their medicine from a dispensary out of convenience. Instead New York patients get to rely on a handful of entities, many of which it sounds like didn’t do their homework when it came to researching and getting local governments on board with their plans.


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Johnny Green


  1. Doctors can not prescribe plants. Pharmacies can not dispense plants. You racists are not smart enough for this.

  2. Absolutely NOT. Big Pharma has nearly killed me twice. What do you think they would do with prescribed MMJ? Please don’t be naive.

  3. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Bless your heart, Ms. Lewis. Ladies nationwide are bringing down the anti-cannabis tyranny with their shared grace and compassion. Your solid journalism certainly has its place in that developing story. Jon Alan’s story is tragic, like thousands of other New York stories. The homes and gardens of hard-working, tax-paying, nonviolent, decent New Yorkers raided by anti-cannabis agents. Countless lives ruined by marijuana arrests. Perhaps millions of cannabis careers–in manufacturing, medicine, nutrition and recreation–DENIED by arrogant state and local officials. Adorable little angels, among them Anna Conte and Donella Nocera, dying without legal access to medical cannabis. This list could go on and on in hysterical New York, the land that epitomizes repression of cannabis plants.

  4. Hi Jon I’m a journalist and I report on medical marijuana. I’m interested in your concerns about being able to access a dispensary. If you want to talk shoot me an email at cflewis@crain.com. Thanks!

  5. Put it in every pharmacy like all other legitimate medicines. Theres no insulin only dispensaries for diabetics. They go to CVS or Walgreens. The same should apply for pot.

  6. What’s the point in bothering with these dispensarys. The NY State law is rediculous and the Governor knew exactly what to do to sabotage it when he altered the law drawn up by the sponsers. From this and other forums I learned that the Assembly had the votes to create the better NY MMJ law. But they let that ruthless SOB of a governor destroy the intentions and will of the people of NY State.
    I am suffering daily and have been praying I wouldn’t have to move but now it seems I’ll be too far away from a dispensary and then there is the problem of the SOB Big Pharma doctors who won’t or are afraid to sign on for the program. I have a solid history of my illnesses, two of which are major categories that would allow me access to the MMJ meds. I’m am disgusted with the poitical machinery in both the NY State and the Federal government. I have used the term ‘creeping fascism’ to describe the incredible and obviously inhumane and insensitive politics running rampant in OUR governmental beaurocracies including the federal and state legislatures, juducuaries and executive branches. Cowards and peons all. I am almost too sick to move but I’ll find the strength to move and never look back.
    What kind of bought politicians have the right up deny me ‘pursuit of happiness” which I interpret as the ability to choose how to improve my health without Big Pharma interference. Keep up your good work on this blog. It is a dash of hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. If I don’t get the relief I need and choose soon it will be too late for me.
    The US government is in breach of contract with the majority of the US citizens for a number of reasons. The contracts are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The government is selling America to the highest bidder at the expense and enslavement of the citizens who pay taxes to perpetuate this atrocity.
    Thank you for this blog and the great work you do.

  7. What a shit show
    sounds like the new dispensarys where too busy dreaming about the millions they where going to make to do there due diligence.

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