Eight medical marijuana dispensaries are now open in the state of New York.
The new dispensaries provide patients with access to a variety of medical marijuana derived products, which include concentrates, tinctures, edibles and more. But what they don’t provide is, as strange as it may sound to some, good old fashioned dried buds – the kind that can be smoked.
The reason for the lack of smokable herb comes as the result of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s stipulation for approval which requires the state’s legal marijuana providers to process the drug into other forms.
In the state of New York, under the 2014 law which permits the medical marijuana marketplace to exist in the state, marijuana can not be smoked.
While the cannabis clubs are open, only a small number of patients have been officially certified for the program. The exact number of certified patients, according to the New York Department of Health, is a mere 51.
The process through which patients can apply to become certified medical marijuana patients in the state has only been around since December 23, 2015.
Medical marijuana patients in the state are issued identification cards that are white and purple. One such card carrier, a 53-year-old man afflicted with neuropathy who declined to offer his name, was quoted by The NY Times as having said that he “wanted to find out the pricing” and the availability so he “spoke with the pharmacist, spoke with the people” and found that they were just “as excited” to see him as he was to see them.
I wanted to find out the pricing, I wanted to find out the availability, I wanted to find out what the deal with it was […] I spoke with the pharmacist, spoke with the people. They were as excited about seeing me as I was excited about seeing them.
One of the newly opened pot clubs, a dispensary operating under the name Vireo Health of New York, recently had its non-smokable weed products certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union. The Orthodox Union is the largest and most widely recognized kosher certifier in the world.
New York’s foray into state sanctioned medical marijuana comes two decades after the first state, California, legalized the drug’s medical use.
Nearly half the states across the nation have passed legislation that allows residents to use marijuana as medication. The states that have passed medical marijuana laws include Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Montana and more. Even the nation’s capital, the District of Columbia, has approved such legislation.
While more and more states legalize medical marijuana, the U.S. federal government remains virtually unhinged in its own stance on medical marijuana. As far as the fed is concerned, marijuana is an illegal drug.