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New York: Dept of Health Adds Organizations to Medical Marijuana Program

New York Cannabis - Times Union

As of August 1, 2017, there are 25,736 certified patients and 1,139 registered practitioners participating in the program and the number of certified patients has increased by 10,744 or 72 percent since the addition of chronic pain in late March

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The New York State Department of Health yesterday announced that it has authorized five additional registered organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in New York State, an initiative aimed at improving patient access and the geographic distribution of dispensing facilities across the state. The newly approved organizations are Citiva Medical, Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, New York Canna, PalliaTech NY and Valley Agriceuticals.

New York: Senate Passes Bill Allowing Patients With PTSD Access to Medical Cannabis

New York Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A bipartisan proposal to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition for New York’s medical cannabis program has received final approval from state lawmakers and is headed to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Senate passed S 5629 on Tuesday (50-13), and the Assembly version, A 7006, received overwhelming approval in May (131-8).

S 5629 was introduced by Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) with a bipartisan coalition of seven co-sponsors, including Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), who previously opposed medical marijuana legislation. A second bill, A 7006, was introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried (D-Manhattan) with bipartisan support.

New York: State Assembly Passes Legislation To Seal Past Marijuana Possession Convictions

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Bill is First Step Toward Comprehensive Plan to Redress Harms of the War on Drugs in Communities of Color

As Legislative Clock Winds Down, Advocates and Assemblymembers Urge Senate to Quickly Pass the Companion Bill in the Senate

The New York State Assembly on Wednesday voted in support of A10092, a bill that will seal the criminal records of people who have been unjustly and unconstitutionally arrested for simple possession of marijuana in public view. The bipartisan vote was 92 in favor and 34 opposed.

Over the last 20 years, more than 700,000 New Yorkers have been arrested for simple possession of marijuana. Those convicted face significant barriers to accessing education, employment, housing opportunities, and other state services.

“I introduced the marijuana sealing bill because drug laws have created a permanent underclass of people unable to find jobs after a conviction,” said Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “One of the most damaging issues derived from the war on drugs is that the policies are inherently racist.

"Communities of color have been devastated by bad drug policies and hyper-criminalization for the last 40 years," Peoples-Stokes said. "It is an approach that has never worked and has caused significantly more harm than good to our communities and to our families.

California: Tainted Synthetic Marijuana Hits Los Angeles Streets

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck reported Wednesday that fifteen people were hospitalized over the weekend after consuming artificial cannabis. Artificial cannabis is made in a lab, not a greenhouse, and consists of THC-like chemicals applied to plant matter. It can be much stronger than botanical marijuana.

“They are cutting it with something lethal,” Rev. Andy Bales, who runs a local mission, told the Los Angeles Times. “We’ve seen violence and convulsions…. I saw a guy rolling into the street on Friday.”

This is not the first such incident related to synthetic marijuana. Last April synthetic marijuana in New York caused 160 hospitalizations in two weeks, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). It’s “direct proof,” Cuomo said in a statement, that “synthetic drugs are anything but harmless.” The governor’s office compared synthetic cannabis to other drugs like bath salts and PCP. Like bath salt users, people who consume synthetic marijuana report violent behavior, vomiting, seizures and other aggressive symptoms, quite unlike the natural marijuana user's experience.

New York: Gov. Cuomo Signs Medical Marijuana Emergency Access Bill

AndrewCuomoSmiling[Matzav.com]

Patients and Families Applaud Gov. Cuomo and Call on Health Department to Implement Law Quickly and Get Medicine to Critically Ill Patients

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After months of pressure from patients and advocates, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed a bill that will expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients.

In June, with overwhelming bipartisan support, both houses of the legislature passed A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), directing the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill was delivered to Governor on October 30, and he had until Wednesday to either sign or veto the bill.

The bill instructs the state to issue patient cards to qualified, critically ill patients as soon as possible, making it clear that they are medical marijuana patients and affording them some protection from law enforcement and child protective services.

"Patients in New York have waited long enough for legal access to medical cannabis," said Roger Volodarsky, founder and CEO of local Brooklyn-based vaporizer technology company Puffco. "It's outrageous that they have been forced to go years without relief while politicians procrastinate, but this new law means that the day when those who need marijuana-based medicine will be able to safely obtain it from legal businesses will be here sooner rather than later."

New York: Day Before Deadline, Marijuana Patients and Families Rally At Governor's Office

AndrewCuomo[MikeGroll-AP]

Patients, Families Demand Gov. Cuomo Sign Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana Bill

Bill That Would Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

One day before the deadline for Governor Cuomo to sign or veto a bill that would create emergency access to medical marijuana, patients and advocates rallied outside his office to demand action. Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

The emergency access bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the New York State legislature last June and delivered to Governor Cuomo on October 30th. He has ten days to sign or veto the bill, making the deadline for action November 11th.

Compassionate Care NY held a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.

Since last July, advocates have been pressuring the Cuomo Administration to create an interim emergency access program for patients who may not survive the eighteen months or longer that the Governor has said he needs to get the full medical marijuana program up and running. After the Governor’s Office failed to take action, advocates turned to the Legislature.

New York: Patients, Families Rally at Cuomo's Office to Demand Emergency Medical Marijuana

AndrewCuomo[MikeGroll-AP]

Bill That Would Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Passed New York Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

One day before the deadline for Governor Cuomo to sign or veto a bill that would create emergency access to medical marijuana, patients and advocates will rally outside his office to demand action. Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

The emergency access bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the New York State legislature last June and delivered to Governor Cuomo on October 30th. He has ten days to sign or veto the bill, making the deadline for action November 11th.

Compassionate Care NY will hold a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.

What: Press conference and rally urging Cuomo to sign a bill to create emergency access to medical marijuana

Who:
• Representatives of the Drug Policy Alliance
• Missy Miller, mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder
• Reginald Brown, person living with HIV/AIDS
• Wanda Hernandez, person living with HIV/AIDS

When: Tuesday, November 10th, 10:00 AM

New York: Group Wants NYC To Set Up Its Own Medical Marijuana Program

DanaBeal[KatherineCaulderwood-TheVillageVoice]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group of patients who are disappointed with the much criticized, heavily regulated medical marijuana program and its glacial pace in New York state has drafted a bill to make medicinal cannabis more accessible in New York City.

The group's proposed legislation, which responds to the state's Compassionate Care Act, establishes a "medical marihuana users' bill of rights" and asks the New York City Council to support creation of a "users cooperative," reports Madison Margolin at The Village Voice.

Longtime marijuana activist Dana Beal, one of about 10 contributors ot the bill, said the group hopes to establish a five-borough patients' cooperative "for people with serious maladies, including ones that aren't on the state list."

"The law and the regulations don't cover people who are [also] legitimate patients," Beal said. "We believe that under home rule, we can extend better availability and better prices to more people."

New York's Compassionate Care Act, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July 2014, is scheduled to take effect in January. Many have criticized it for being among the most restrictive, and least patient-friendly, in the country. The law doesn't allow for any smoking of marijuana, nor the use of any cannabis flowers, nor the use of infused edibles, but only allows oils, concentrates, dissolvable strips, patches, and tinctures.

New York: Gov. Cuomo, Politicians Return To Failed Drug War On Synthetic Cannabinoids

KassandraFrederiqueDrugPolicyAlliance[BlogTalkRadio]

Advocates: New Yorkers Need a Public Education and Health Approach to Deal with Emerging Drugs

Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued regulations and the New York State Senate introduced a bill that would criminalize the sales of synthetic cannabinoids.

Recently, there have been several media reports of tragic episodes involving synthetic cannabinoids, such as spice and K2. Epidemiological reports suggest an increase in hospitalizations due to these substances.

Synthetic cannabinoids are a class of cannabinoid chemicals typically sprayed over plant matter and packaged with names like “K2,” “Spice” and “Green Giant.” These are only the latest “legal highs” to come on the market that simulate the effects of prohibited drugs like marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine.

In the past, as these kind of substances have been banned, manufacturers have simply invented new variations of the same substances to skirt the bans as well as for legitimate scientific purposes.

“New York needs to find effective, evidence-based strategies for responding to problematic use of these substances," said Kassandra Frederique, policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "Unfortunately, however, to date, the response from the media and from elected officials has been to employ failed drug war strategies and rhetoric.

New York: Families Demand Emergency Access To Medical Marijuana, One Year After Bill Signing

NewYorkMMJProtestGovernorCuomoNYCOffice[HuffPo]

An Emergency Access Bill Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

Advocates: Not One Patient Has Yet Received Medical Marijuana; Cuomo Must Sign a Bill or Take Other Action to Provide Relief to Suffering Patients

On the one year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families on Tuesday gathered in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill to expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients.

Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana, and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

“It’s a year and a half since Governor Cuomo announced in the State of the State message that he would re-activate the 1980 Olivieri Law to make medical marijuana available to patients in need, and a year since he signed the Compassionate Care Act," said Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of last year’s medical marijuana legislation. "In July 2014, he wrote to Health Commissioner Zucker about ‘the urgent help children with epilepsy desperately need,’ and said ‘I look forward to hearing of any progress you can make to provide relief to the children of our state living with epilepsy.’

New York: Families To Rally Demanding Governor Grant Access To Medical Marijuana

NewYorkMMJPatientRally[CompassionateCareNY]

Tuesday Marks One-Year Anniversary of Medical Marijuana Bill Signing

New Bill to Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Just Passed NY Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support – But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

On the one-year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families will gather in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill that would create an emergency access program so that critically ill patients could access medical marijuana as soon as possible.

Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

Compassionate Care NY will hold a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.

What: Press conference and rally urging Cuomo to create emergency access to medical marijuana

Who:
• Representatives of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
• Dr. Richard Carlton, physician and caregiver
• Elaine Smith, mother of a child with severe epilepsy
• Nancy Rivera, four-time cancer survivor
• Wanda Hernandez, person living with HIV/AIDS

When: Tuesday, July 7, 12:30 PM

Where: Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Offices; 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY

New York: Legislature Passes Bipartisan Bill To Create Emergency Medical Marijuana Access

NewYorkMedicalMarijuana[MedicalJane]

Frustrated with Inaction, Patients and Families Demand Governor Sign the Bill into Law Immediately

In an unusual show of bipartisan support, the New York Senate on Monday night voted 50 to 12 in favor of a bill, sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo, that directs the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible.

The Assembly version, sponsored by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, passed last week by an overwhelming majority (130-18). The bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature or veto.

The passage of this bill comes almost exactly one year after the Legislature passed New York’s medical marijuana law and almost 10 months after the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy.

To date, not one patient has received medical marijuana, and at least four children, who might have benefitted from medical marijuana, have died since the governor signed the bill last year.

“Even though we worked tirelessly to pass New York’s medical marijuana law, for the past year, my family and I have continued to watch Oliver suffer relentless, damaging seizures, all the while knowing that there is a medicine that could help him,” said Missy Miller of Atlantic Beach, whose son Oliver suffers from life-threatening seizures. “Every day we go without this medicine is a day that Oliver loses ground, every day we live with the risk of him dying from these seizures.

New York: Medical Marijuana Draft Regulations Don't Include Provision For Emergency Access

MedicalMarijuana

Friday: One Week After Death of Eight Year Old Donella Nocero, Patients and Caregivers Rally Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Office to Demand Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Critically Ill Patients and Their Families Ask Cuomo to Grant Their Holiday Wish -- Access to Lifesaving Medication Before More Children Die

The NY Department of Health on Thursday released the draft regulations for the medical marijuana program. While full analysis of the regulations is still underway, an initial review suggests New York will be one of the more restrictive programs in the country, which could inhibit patients from obtaining the relief they need.

For instance, the draft regulations restrict the number of brands of medical marijuana to five initially without any clear rationale. There are dozens of therapeutic strains of medical cannabis, each having benefits for particular conditions.

Had such a restriction been in place in a state like Colorado, it very well may have prevented the development of marijuana strains beneficial to some children with epilepsy. Such a provision could prove to be a deterrent to industry groups. Patients and doctors deserve the flexibility to find which medicine works best.

Absent from the draft regulations is any provision for emergency access to marijuana for those patients who cannot wait for the system to come online in January 2016. Patients, family members and activists will gather outside Governor Cuomo’s New York City Office tomorrow to urge the Governor to establish an emergency access program for medical marijuana.

New York: Another Child Dies Waiting For Emergency Access To Medical Marijuana

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Family’s Pleas for Relief for Little Donella Nocera Went Unheeded

Families, Advocates Call Upon Governor Cuomo to Immediately Help Suffering New Yorkers

Eight-year-old Donella Nocera of Niagra Falls died on Thursday while waiting for emergency access to medical marijuana to ease her end-of-life suffering.

Donella was fighting Stage 4 brain cancer. Her father, Nate, joined Compassionate Care NY from Donella’s bedside, fighting for emergency access for his daughter and pleading with Governor Cuomo to take action. This October, the Times-Union published Nate’s powerful op-ed about his fight to ease his daughter’s pain.

“More than five months after Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that was meant to bring vital treatment to our family, my daughter Donella is dead," said Nate Nocera. "Governor Cuomo, I know you cannot turn back time to get us the medical marijuana that could have slowed the aggressive growth of the tumor in her brain.

"I know you cannot give us back the days, turned into weeks, turned into months that we lost Donella to a narcotic-induced sleep," Nocera said. "But you have the power to end the needless suffering of so many New York families, and I urge you to use it.

U.S.: Advocates Launch 'Vote Medical Marijuana' Ahead of November Elections

VoteMedicalMarijuana2014

New tool makes political candidates' positions, records on medical marijuana more accessible to voters

The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has produced a new 30-second online TV advertisement to launch its groundbreaking, election-cycle voter education campaign "Vote Medical Marijuana." The ad will also air on this Sunday's morning cable news programs in Detroit, Philadelphia, South Florida, and Washington State.

The campaign features an interactive online voter's guide at VoteMedicalMarijuana.org that provides information on political candidate positions as well as voting statistics and a report card for each Member of Congress and certain state elected officials.

"We want to better educate supporters and the general public about casting their ballot for candidates who have their best interests in mind," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "Our elected representatives in Congress and in state legislatures are making policy decisions on medical marijuana that affect millions of patients in the U.S."

New York: Governor Asks DOJ To Allow New York To Get Medical Marijuana From Other States

GovernorAndrewCuomoNewYork

Patients, Families, and Advocates Thank Cuomo For Federal Request, But Urge Additional State Action to Save Lives of Critically Ill Patients

Patients Call on Governor to Create State-Based Emergency Access Program

The Cuomo Administration on Friday sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Cole following up on an earlier letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, sent on August 13. Both letters asked the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) to extend a narrow, time-limited exception to federal law to allow the importation of certain strains of medical marijuana from other states for use by children in New York with severe forms of epilepsy.

The letters follow the deaths of several children and a sustained campaign by advocates pressuring the Cuomo Administration to create an interim emergency access program for patients who may not survive the 18 months or longer that the governor has said he needs to get the full medical marijuana program up and running. New York passed a medical marijuana bill that Governor Cuomo signed into law in July, but the Administration has said the program won’t be up and running until at least January of 2016.

To establish emergency access for patients in need, medical marijuana can either be produced within New York state, or, with appropriate federal clearances, acquired from a different jurisdiction. The Cuomo Administration’s letters address one of those two options.

New York: Gov. Cuomo Highlights Urgency For Swift Implementation of Medical Marijuana Program

NewYorkGovernorAndrewCuomo

Need for Emergency Access is Clearer than Ever with Recent Deaths

Patients, Families, and Advocates Thank Cuomo and Urge His Continued Leadership and Action to Ensure Critically Ill Patients Receive Immediate Access to Medicine

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday called for swift implementation of New York’s recently passed medical marijuana law. Since the medical marijuana bill was signed into law on July 7, three children who suffered from severe seizure disorders have already died.

These deaths have made even clearer what we already knew – the 18-month or longer timeline for implementing New York’s medical marijuana law is simply too long for some patients who face life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

The Governor’s letter follows Monday’s meeting between the Governor’s office, the Department of Health, patients, and advocates from across New York State. In his letter, Governor Cuomo acknowledges the importance of expediting the implementation process, as well as exploring any options that might provide immediate relief for patients from across the state who are in pain and suffering.

“I applaud the Governor for recognizing the urgency around implementing New York’s medical marijuana law, so that patients can obtain access to potentially life-saving medicine,” said Wendy Conte of Buffalo, whose daughter recently died following a severe seizure. “We are looking to the Governor now for his continued leadership to ensure that our children receive the medicine that they need.

New York: Gov. Cuomo, Lawmakers Want To Speed Up Medical Marijuana Program

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Members of Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration this week met with about a dozen medical marijuana advocates as some New York lawmakers called on Cuomo to speed up the process of making cannabis available to patients in need.

Meeting with the advocates on Monday were Deputy Secretary of Health Courtney Burke and Howard Zucker of the New York Department of Health, reports Jon Campbell at PressConnects. Last week, bill sponsors wrote to Gov. Cuomo, urging him to consider different ways to get medical marijuana to terminally ill patients more quickly.

Under New York's new medical marijuana law, the Department of Health has 18 months to get the state's system up and running.

The purpose of Monday's meeting was to keep the lines of communication open with advocates as the state begins to implement the program, Westchester County resident Kate Hintz, whose daughter Morgan, 3, suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy.

"I'm pleased that they have opened a dialogue with advocates and parents, such as myself," Hintz said. "I think that there are ways that we can safely and efficaciously provide medicine sooner than an 18-month time period."

New York: Advocates Mourn Death of Child at Center of Medical Marijuana Battle

ConteFamily-WendyAndAnna(BuffaloNews)

Death Fuels Demand for Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana for Critically Ill Patients in New York

Anna Conte, a nine-year-old from Orchard Park, New York, who died last week after falling into a coma following a severe seizure, was laid to rest on Wednesday. Anna suffered from Dravet syndrome, a life-threatening seizure disorder that has been treated with medical marijuana in states where it is legal. Medical marijuana has dramatically reduced the number of seizures in many children with similar seizure disorders.

In an effort to help their daughter, the Conte family joined the successful fight to pass a medical marijuana bill in New York. The Contes travelled repeatedly to Albany, persuading several powerful New York senators to support the bill and generating thousands of phone calls and emails to Albany leadership. Advocates around the state came to know and love Anna and her family and admire their selfless advocacy which was always accompanied with a sense of humor.

Tragically, Anna Conte did not live long enough to benefit from the law that her family helped pass. Governor Cuomo, who signed the bill into law just days before Anna’s passing, has said that it will take 18 months or longer for New York to implement the law and develop the full medical marijuana patient access system.

Families and advocates are urgently calling upon Governor Cuomo to take immediate action establishing expedited access to medical marijuana for those patients and families, like the Conte’s, who cannot wait until the full system is up and running.

New York: Medical Marijuana Industry Trade Association Formed

NewYorkMedicalMarijuana

Advocates have come together with medical, public policy, labor and New York government affairs experts to create the Medical Cannabis Industry Alliance of New York (MCIA), which says it is designed to help State regulators create the safest and most effective medical marijuana program in the nation.

“This new association will work to bring the best practices from around the country and meld them with the unique needs of New York State’s diverse communities, so we have the safest and most effective program possible,” said Melissa Hilt, a founding board member of MCIA. “We recognize the enormous challenge, and workload, the State regulators face in the coming months.

"We hope to be a resource that allows that work to proceed efficiently so we can ensure this program is up and running as soon as possible so patients can get the relief they so desperately need,” she said.

Individual companies seeking to enter New York's medical marijuana market are not allowed to talk with regulators, according to Health Department officials, reports Benjamin Oreskes at the Albany Times Union. The state agency said it was trying to determine the legality of its personnel holding discussions with a trade group like the MCIA, but remained open to the possibility.

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