Many New York medical marijuana patients still buy from black market

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New York’s medical cannabis program has been hard-pressed to prove it’s a viable setup, and those issues apparently are continuing with prospective patients still relying on black-market MMJ.

A combination of high product costs, bureaucratic red tape and the easy availability of cannabis flower on the street has added up to an ongoing system where many patients turn to street dealers for medical marijuana flower as opposed to high-priced extract products available at New York dispensaries, the Staten Island Advance reported.

“Most people that go to a dispensary go once or twice and never go back,” Landon Dais, a Marijuana Policy Project staffer, told the news outlet. “It’s just too expensive. They like that the products are screened and safe … but it’s about the bottom line for people’s pockets.”

For example, vape pens that typically cost about $30 or $40 in the Colorado market go for $100 in New York and the medicinal effect isn’t even on par with Colorado’s MMJ, Doug Greene of Empire State NORML told the Advance.

A number of industry insiders remain convinced that New York’s MMJ program – which has undergone multiple revisions as policymakers try to make the program sustainable – won’t be truly viable until the state allows dispensaries to sell smokable flower.