New York MMJ off to sluggish start

New York marijuana business leaders expected a slow start to the state’s medical marijuana program, which officially launched yesterday. But not this slow.

Only a handful of patients visited dispensaries on opening day – an unprecedentedly low number for a program launch.

What’s the problem? New York has thus far registered only 51 patients, state health department officials told reporters. There are also fewer than 150 physicians registered to prescribe medical marijuana, and the health department has not made the list of certified physicians public yet.

Last summer, New York awarded five companies licenses that allow them to operate one cultivation site and four dispensaries each. Eight of the allotted 20 dispensaries in New York opened Thursday.

Neither of the two upstate New York locations that Etain opened on Thursday – in Albany, the state capital, and Kingston, about 100 miles north of New York City – saw patients, company COO Hillary Peckham said..

In New York City, Columbia Care’s much-hyped Union Square location saw just a “trickle of patients,” according to the New York Times.

In the central New York region, there are three dispensaries that will open this month, but no MMJ-certified doctors practice in the area, according to a local news report.

At least one business owner – Vireo Health of New York CEO Ari Hoffnung, whose parent company is in Minnesota – told Marijuana Business Daily that he would not be discouraged by a slow start.

“My experience in Minnesota indicates that the number early on is likely to be extraordinarily low and we’re not going to be making any extrapolations based on day one numbers,” Hoffnung said.

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8 comments on “New York MMJ off to sluggish start
  1. numbnuts on

    Doctors need to be talking to doctors. Build the system so that they can collaborate. Doctors should be excited about this. They are going to see an up tick in patient referrals and new patient intake. Which will ultimately effect their bottom line. When doctors are discussing a product feed back they can educate about potency and side effects.
    All of this will be great for community health and well being.
    This is their missing link to their amazing treatment options.

    Not having cannabis as a treatment option is like having a Ferrari with no wheels……

    • Joe on

      Unfortunately there are practices that will not participate in the program. (my guess is they make to much from pharmaceutical companies) There are also some Dr’s who don’t know the program started like mine. There is also some confusion I think in the law itself. Originally I recall the wording of (“an on going patient doctor relationship”) to prevent what’s happened in other states like California where someone can go see a “pot doctor” pay the fee and get your referral. Now though it seems that anyone could go to any Dr who’s involved in the program to get a referral. That being said I’m surprised that a practice like Cannamed who has experience in this hasn’t opened a location in NY yet.

  2. al simon on

    I do not believe it is an accident that business is slow or non existent in New York and New Jersey Read the regulations that permit doctors, patients and the medical permits required in these two states. They are designed to fail. i wonder who the lobbyists that designed the regulations worked for.

    • Lawrence Goodwin on

      The “lobbyists,” al simon, “worked” hard for the people. Amazing ladies, among them Lisa Reid, Kate Hintz, Melissa Hilt, Christine Emerson, Missy Miller, Maryanne Hauser, Nancy Rivera, Julie Netherland, Anna Saini and Melody Lee, spent many hours inside the NY State Capitol pushing for much more comprehensive medical cannabis legislation (January through June, 2014). They were led by courageous lawmakers NY Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. It was at the last minute that NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, acting in concert with State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, imposed the “severe restrictions” that now seriously hamper New York’s medical cannabis industry. New York epitomizes Big Government, especially in the tyranny deployed against cannabis commerce.

    • Joe on

      To an extent I think this is gonna be like his daddy’s Article 33A program which was a fail because it was too much of a hassle to enroll a patient into the program. It was easier to just write them a script for Viccadin.

  3. John V.... on

    This is all just BS… The FED needs to Legalize weed in all 50 states. MOST of the people who are voting for MMJ are people who DO NOT NEED Medical MJ.. Its amazing how blind people can be to the facts right in front of their face!

    People who DO NOT DRink Alcohol Need a way to relax, which is MUCH safer than drinking..

    Alcohol KILLS! MJ Does NOT!

    You can NOT legalize weed in a couple states and expect everything to be honky dory.. You got every person who wants to partake moving to these FEW areas and Causing all kinds of problems.. If people didnt have to move to get MJ things would be a VERY Smooth Ride!

    Am I the only one who can figure this out ? Unbelievable !!!

    VOTE for ME For President ! I will fix this once and for all!

    Johnny V..

    • Joe on

      Cannabis laws need to be repealed and nullified and it made LAWFUL! Legal means they ALLOW it to be legal. How can you “allow” something that comes from the Earth to be legal or illegal?

  4. JOE2 on

    There are several problems at heart. Firstly the legislation and regulations. There is a slim margin of people that can benefit from such a stringent program. The list of mj treatable afflictions could be largely expanded to include depression and nausea and headaches and sleep disorders. And why restrict people from smoking it? Second the fees to be included in industry are effing crazy. Who has millions to invest in throwing seeds in dirt? i could do it for free.
    There are many more reasons why this is a failed attempt to medicalize marijuana. Medicine is simply a substance which makes you feel better. Laws and politicians overcomplicate a simple issue of whether or not the public deserves to “feel better”.

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