New York Expedites Access As First MMJ Crop Is Harvested

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed two bills on Wednesday to establish an “emergency” medical marijuana program for qualified patients, separate Compassionate Care Act set to roll out in January, the New York Times reported.

Despite Coumo’s announcement, there was uncertainty about who would provide medical cannabis under the emergency program. Cuomo’s statement indicated the New York program would be “giving preference” to cultivators in other states that could provide medical marijuana “in a more expeditious manner.”

The emergency program also requires the Health Department to register more organizations for producing medical cannabis “as soon as practicable,” and to waive the “tight controls” of the Compassionate Care Act.

Cuomo also directed New York’s Health Department to explore whether the five cultivators and 20 dispensaries dispersed across the state would provide patients sufficient access.

Meanwhile, Vireo Health in Perth, N.Y., one of five companies in the state with licenses to cultivate medical marijuana, announced that it would harvest the state’s first cannabis crop in more than a century on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.