New York helping doctors get involved in MMJ program

New York is offering a new online education course for doctors interested in recommending medical marijuana, a move that could help ensure dispensaries have a robust patient market to serve.

The idea is to give doctors the information they need to recommend medical marijuana treatments for patients, which will help get more health care professionals involved in the program.

Doctor participation can play a huge role in how big a state’s MMJ market is – and thus how much in revenues it generates.

The four-hour course, which costs $249, covers a variety of issues, ranging from the benefits and risks of marijuana use to the pharmacology of cannabis and dosing issues.

Doctors in New York have reportedly been clamoring for medical marijuana education.

“There has been no information out of Albany on how they’re going to start training the physicians,” said Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, director of Buffalo’s Dent Neurological Institute, where several physicians intend to become certified to recommend medical marijuana.

New York granted five companies licenses this summer to cultivate marijuana and open 20 dispensaries between them.

The program, which officially begins Jan. 1, 2016, is considered one of the most restrictive in the nation, with a ban on cannabis flowers and expensive licenses. Once the program starts, annual sales are expected to be between $40 million-$60 million, according to the 2015 Marijuana Business Factbook.

Some licensees have said they plan to provide educational materials for both physicians and patients themselves, similar to how pharmaceutical companies educate their customers.