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New York’s Medical Marijuana Program Starts Slower Than Expected


New York marijuanaWhen New York legalized medical marijuana roughly 1.5 years ago, it was very exciting. New York has one of the largest populations in the country, and there are no doubt a huge number of people that would benefit from medical marijuana. I remember having so much hope at that time.

Then the process of implementing the law started to drag on, and the program became more and more restrictive. Then it was announced that only a small handful of companies would be granted licenses to produce and/or sell medical marijuana. That resulted in companies fighting very hard and spending huge sums of money to get one of the ‘lucrative’ licenses.

New York’s medical marijuana program finally launched on Thursday last week, and the numbers showed that the program’s launch was much smaller than expected. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

New York marijuana business leaders expected a slow start to the state’s medical marijuana program, which officially launched yesterday. But not this slow.

Only a handful of patients visited dispensaries on opening day – an unprecedentedly low number for a program launch.

What’s the problem? New York has thus far registered only 51 patients, state health department officials told reporters. There are also fewer than 150 physicians registered to prescribe medical marijuana, and the health department has not made the list of certified physicians public yet.

On Thursday there were 8 dispensaries open. Assuming that every patient visited a dispensary (which I don’t think that they did), that would mean each dispensary would serve between 6 to 7 customers. Considering how much money those companies payed in order to operate those dispensaries, that’s pretty rough. But what is even rougher is the plight of the patients.

If there are so few patients, it’s because New York’s medical marijuana program is too restrictive. There needs to be way more qualifying conditions to become a patient or the program will never get off the ground. Safe access is great, but only for those patients that can qualify for that safe access.


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Johnny Green


  1. All I can do is laugh. They wanted to be ridiculously strict in NY with the legalization, and now there feeling it. These places aren’t gonna make any money and will probably go out of business due to lack of incoming clientele. Until they legalize it completely, or atleast have the same laws as California. They will not make ANY money.

  2. i work in a doctors office–the login for the website hasnt worked in over a week–they claim to be working on it, but i dont believe it–its taking too long–we are trying to register 2 patients but cant do it–perhaps they are setting it up to fail since cuomo didnt want the program in the 1st place

  3. Nobody knows which doctors are licensed to prescribe , and a lot of doctors don’t want to take the 4 hour course.

  4. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Macho NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo carries the torch for previous cannabis haters Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan. It’s that simple. Cuomo’s elegant lady companion, TV star Sandra Lee, recently won a reprieve from her battle with breast cancer after getting a double mastectomy. Ms. Lee would’ve certainly benefited from keeping an abundant supply of seedless cannabis flowers in the house before going through that hell (and now). But NO, her man Cuomo hates cannabis flowers and still spews the tired old fear that they are a “gateway” to heroin addiction. It’s Cuomo’s fault alone that New York’s medical cannabis program is so “restrictive,” which leaves many thousands of his own ailing constituents in the lurch. Day after unbearable day, it breaks my heart.

  5. saynotohypocrisy on

    Only 51 patients approved. I see that having 4 little children die of epilepsy who might have been helped by MMJ hasn’t sobered Cuomo up in the slightest. What a sorry excuse for a human being he is.

  6. saynotohypocrisy on

    And the police/prison/courts/supervision/rehab industrial complex. And the alcohol gang and big pharma who can’t handle the thought of level playing field competition from cannabis.
    Keep the black market going strong, with all that implies about violence, devastated communities, corruption, temptation, police-community cooperation, twisted drug education, etc. Silly Andrew Cuomo, and needs to resign Debbie W-S, thinking they’re holding back the barbarians, when everyone knows the barbarians use alcohol, not cannabis.

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