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State Adds to List of Qualifying Conditions, Expands Providers

Chronic Pain Now Qualifies for Marijuana Treatment in New York

In December, 2016, the New York State Health Department announced plans to modify the state medical marijuana program to include chronic pain as a qualifying condition. A regulatory amendment to this effect was submitted for public comment, and last week the Department announced that the addition would become effective as of Wednesday, March 22. In addition, New York is now allowing physician assistants to register to prescribe medical marijuana. Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, JD, stated that “Improving patient access to medical marijuana continues to be one of our top priorities, as it has been since the launch of the program. These key enhancements further that goal."

The medical marijuana program in New York State launched in January 2016, but has faced criticism as being overly restrictive, and has had difficulty registering both patients and prescribers. These concerns have led to additional medical conditions being added to the qualifying list, and additional classes of health care practitioners given authorization to prescribe. Chronic pain now joins 10 other conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment. The state definition covers pain of 3 months or longer duration that the practitioner deems to be adversely impacting health and functional capability, and for which other treatment modalities have failed.

Additional information about the medical marijuana program in New York State may be found here.

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