NY Medical Marijuana Program to Launch Within a Year

New York’s highly restrictive, controversial medical marijuana program could be up and running by this time next year

The state’s health commissioner told lawmakers this week that he expects the program to launch within 12 months, adding that it will use marijuana provided by the federal government.

Under the program – unveiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year – up to 20 hospitals could distribute medical marijuana to patients. Cannabis advocates and lawmakers have slammed the idea, saying it is too limited and unfeasible anyway – given that it would require FDA-approved appropriations to pay for the marijuana as well as the framework to run the program.

They piled on more complaints after the health commissioner’s comments. Sen. Diane Savino, who has co-sponsored a bill that would legalize medical marijuana under a more traditional system allowing dispensaries to distribute the drug, said there’s no way the Federal Drug Administration will agree to provide cannabis for the governor’s program.

Additionally, the one-year timeline for getting the program up and running is very optimistic, given all the unique complications involved.