New York legalized the use of medical marijuana for severe conditions through the compassionate care act. This act protects patients and their caregivers, as well as authorizes the state to license Organizations to produce and sell medical marijuana. Patients can purchase a variety of medical marijuana products using a New York medical marijuana card. In 2015, the state amended the Compassionate Care Act to make medical marijuana more accessible for patients with extremely severe conditions.

The Registered Organizations

New York can license up to five Registered Organizations. Not only can these Registered Organizations sell their medications, but they may also cultivate the plants. Each Registered Organization can have at most four retailers. These organizations can only sell their medications to a patient or caregiver with a valid New York medical marijuana card.

The Doctor

Patients must first receive a certification from a healthcare professional for them to be able to purchase their medications. Only medical marijuana doctors can give these certifications. These doctors have to take courses and must have the knowledge and skills to determine if a condition calls for the use of medical marijuana. Thus, no one can get medical marijuana for simple illnesses like the common cold. The health condition must be so severe, debilitating, and even life-threatening, that cannabis could be one of your few options. The doctors must also give continuous care for their patients to keep legal protection.

The Patient and Caregivers

As a patient, you have to get in touch with a medical marijuana doctor who can assess your condition. If the doctor approves, you will receive a certification and a patient ID. You will use the patient ID for your registration with the New York Department of Health so you can complete your online applications with the state.

You may also designate up to two caregivers during the registration process. Your caregiver must also register with the Department. When the Department approves and registers you and your caregiver, you can receive your medical marijuana card via mail in 1 or 2 weeks. You and your caregiver can then use this card to avail of your medications from the registered dispensaries.

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Other Things to Know

If you are unsure of where to buy your medications, the New York Department of Health keeps a list of its Registered Organizations and their dispensaries. By law, these organizations must have one brand with an equal THC: CBD ratio and another brand with a low THC: CBD ratio. Besides this requirement, these Registered Organizations may sell different medications. If you are searching for something in specific, it is best to contact them first to verify.

As a patient, you can only get up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana. The Registered Organizations must also report the sales to the New York State Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database so that physicians can monitor your intake and make sound treatment decisions. If the medical marijuana product you are using is not helping, consult with your physician to see if changing the dose or even the product can help.

Medicine has come a long way in recent years. The legalization of medical marijuana is one of the newest signs of progress. If you are suffering from severe health conditions, and are out of options, consider the possible benefits of medical marijuana.

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