New York is the twenty third state to legalise medical marijuana. After a lot of deliberation, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill. He was initially against it, but after the inclusion of several restrictions, he gave his consent and signed the Compassionate Care Act. According to the Act, non-smokable marijuana could be prescribed in the form of pills, vapor or oils. The prescription would be restricted strictly to seriously ill patients.
The law includes 10 serious ailments and conditions that can be treated by medical marijuana. Cancer, HIV and AIDS, Lou Gehrig's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis are a few on the list. Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey D Klein said that the patient-centric programme would provide relief to thousands of people and would be one of the safest, most tightly regulated medical marijuana programmes in the country.
To make the access tight so as to not give way for illegal activities, several measures have been taken by the state. The health commissioner's have full control over the medical marijuana programme; they have the power to decide which disease would require this treatment. The doctors would be trained and certified by the state and only then would they be eligible to prescribe it. It does not stop there, the security is twofold with precautions and rules to be followed on both ends. Even the patients have to register with the state. Any doctor prescribing marijuana to a non-eligible would be considered a crime fit for punishment.
Cuomo stated, that in case of fraudulence, the criminal would be penalised. He also threw light on the "fail safe" mechanism which allowed the governor, in his words, "to suspend the program at any time on recommendation of either the State Police Superintendent or the Commissioner of Health if there is a risk to the public health or public safety."
The governor also intends to keep a close watch at the scenario to avoid any untoward incidents. The state has regulated the use of marijuana; only state-grown grass can be used for the cure and only 5 companies have been granted the permission to grow hashish. This would control the sale and keep a tab on the amount of marijuana that is bought and sold in the state for medical purposes.
Unfortunately, for all those physically ill patients waiting to grab the cannabis, it would take another 18 months for it to be available in New York as the process of implementing these regulations is time consuming.