In a positive step forward for New York’s Medical Marijuana Program, the State Department of Health issued new regulations protecting designated facilities. According to the state’s website, the new guidelines offer protection for staff working at certain healthcare facilities. Specifically, protection from unjust incarceration or prosecution for obtaining medical marijuana for their patients.
Section 1004.23-Designated Caregiver Prohibitions and Protections-in accordance with Public Health Law, states that “designated caregivers, including employees of facilities registered as designated caregivers and acting within their scope of employment, shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau.”
The new section deems certain establishments, such as hospitals, nursing homes, community mental health residences and hospice facilities, as legal caregivers, under the state medical marijuana program. The regulations went into effect on October 5th and are the latest efforts in making medical marijuana more accessible to New Yorkers. Though this is a step in the right direction, New York’s strict rules still only allow medical marijuana to be obtained by patients certified as eligible for the program, or their designated caregivers. Furthermore, New Yorkers only qualify for the use of medical marijuana if they have 1 of 11 debilitating or life-threatening conditions.
Nevertheless, this is great news for New Yorkers, patients and caregivers alike. The road to legalization can be tough and it’s necessary to appreciate every small victory that crosses our path. Especially if that victory benefits honest, hard workers and patients in need of medical assistance.
The new regulations are set to be published in the New York State Register on October 25th. They will be open for a 45-day public comment period before becoming permanent.
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By Alexis Monroy
See more writings by Alexis at alexisamonroy.wordpress.com
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