Cannabis advocates and lawmakers in New York are urging the state to accelerate implementation of its medical marijuana program, saying officials should look into obtaining the drug from other MMJ markets.
While the plan would lift business in some medical cannabis states, there’s a major hurdle with the idea: Under federal law it’s illegal to transport marijuana across state lines.
The governor’s office nonetheless confirmed it is looking at the issue.
New York’s health department technically has 18 months to get the program operational and set up a system of growers and dispensaries to distribute non-smokable forms of medical marijuana.
But supporters of MMJ say the state needs to find a way to get cannabis to terminally ill patients and children with epilepsy sooner.
Their concerns are fueled by the death earlier in July of a child whose parents lobbied heavily in favor of the MMJ law. Several other children with epilepsy have reportedly died in New York in recent weeks as well.
The main sponsors of the recently passed medical marijuana law – State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) – also have called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to speed up the start of medical cannabis sales.
Speaking to reporters about the timeline to implement the program, Cuomo said, “We want to do it as quickly as possible, but we need to do it right … If it can be accelerated safely, then we will do that.”