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Big Changes Coming To New York’s Medical Marijuana Rules

Big Changes Coming To New York’s Medical Marijuana Rules

Richard Drew/AP

Things could be getting a little easier for patients in the Empire State.

This article originally appeared onThe Fresh Toast

Walk up to a New York medical marijuana dispensary, just for the experience, but don't expect to get a warm welcome without a medical card. Security is heavy at dispensaries like the one next to the L train at 3rd Avenue and 14th Street and the rules are strict. No card, no entry, period.

A WNYC reporter did just that and was almost kept from recording her conversation with a patient on the sidewalk. When she finally did speak to a patient, the report was grim. High prices and a very slim assortment of choices on how to consume the once plant make medicating complicated and expensive.

Finding a doctor is a challenge if you qualify. Don't expect a primary care physician to whip out the prescription pad. Most of the time one must find a doctor via the internet then pay cash to see them.

Related | Why Is It So Hard To Get Medical Marijuana In New York?

Once a medical marijuana card is secured, the dispensaries currently only offer cannabis in pill or vaping forms. No flowers, no edibles, no topicals, no funny business. And the reports of price gouging make some patients question the program all together.

The proposed new rules won't address all the above issues, but they very well may make life easier for cannabis patients.

For one thing, the new rules could make it easier for doctors to prescribe the herb and for another, the range of approved products may increase.

New York cannabis activists and program subscribers seem to be happy overall with the proposed changes. One doctor, who specializes in epilepsy, questions the efficacy of the available products. He said he had yet to see sustained benefits for his patients, outside of an isolated, pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid that cut seizures in half for many young patients. The good doctor has over 500 patients and keeps meticulous notes.

Related | New York Recreational Marijuana Bill Is On The Table

Surprisingly enough, dispensary owners are content with the products they must offer now. Hillary Peckham is the CEO of Etain, which just opened a new location in NYC's Murray Hill neighborhood, said the stringent rules were a big reason why she can provide such high-quality products.

Etain is a family run business that oversees and operates all aspects of the enterprise. They cultivate the plants, make them into oils, run the dispensaries and even the transporting and security. Peckham's mother is the CEO, her sister is the chief horticulture officer. Though happy with what they must offer, the family is also happily readying themselves for the new rules, getting ready for new products and the lifting of some restrictions.

This article originally appeared on The Fresh Toast: a lifestyle and entertainment platform with heaping sides of cannabis--you can read more, here.

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