New York state broadens its medical cannabis law

The New York Department of Health is modifying its medical marijuana regulations to make it easier for patients in the state to access their medicine.

Under the first change, nurse practitioners will be permitted to recommend medical marijuana to patients beginning Nov. 30, Buffalo TV station WKBW reported. Previously, only physicians were allowed to write the recommendations.

To be allowed to write the recommendations, nurse practitioners, like physicians, will need to successfully complete a four-hour online course sanctioned by the health department, “Medical Use of Marijuana.” The course costs $249.

Health officials are also considering an amendment that would allow physicians’ assistants to recommend medical marijuana. But before being approved, the amendment must go through a 45-day comment period that also starts Nov. 30, according to WKBW. Officials are also considering whether to add chronic pain to the state’s list of qualifying conditions.

Through Nov. 7, there were 9,852 medical cannabis patients in New York state, and 739 physicians who were certified to write recommendations for them, according to the health department’s website.