A new Orange County medical marijuana dispensary has served about 1,000 patients after a few months in business, illustrating demand in the Hudson Valley and the surrounding areas for cannabis-based drugs.
The Curaleaf New York dispensary at 8 North Plank Road, Newburgh opened March 30. It is the only medical marijuana dispensary in Orange County.
“Reaching this milestone so quickly shows how under served Orange County was prior to the opening of our Newburgh dispensary,” said Michelle Bodner, CEO of PalliaTech New York, which operates the dispensary.
Becoming an ‘integral and trusted member’ of the community
Yet, despite the early success in Orange County, Bodner addressed the unmet patient needs in New York’s medical marijuana program, which has struggled to register medical professionals and certify patients since launching in January 2016.
Dispensary is part of a program expansion underway, including the addition of more common eligible illnesses, like chronic pain, and new medical marijuana businesses.
“We are proud to have become an integral and trusted member of this community and look forward to serving thousands of more patients in the future,” Bodner said.
At the opening of the dispensary, Wallkill resident Darryll O’Brien, 42, said he has been suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis from childhood. Before the dispensary opened, he had been self-medicating with marijuana since he was a teenager.
He said Curaleaf’s staff are “very cool, the people are very knowledable and very compassionate.”
Doctor pool shallow
Still, there are only about 1,700 medical professionals registered in New York’s medical marijuana program, out of a potential pool of 90,000-plus doctors and thousands of nurse practitioners statewide.
Similarly, there are currently 59,000 certified medical marijuana patients statewide, out of hundreds of thousands with eligible illness, such as cancer, epilepsy, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and multiple sclerosis.
Curaleaf’s new dispensary sells cannabis-based products in a variety of forms, including capsules, tablets, tinctures, oils and under-the-tongue strips. The company is also seeking approval to expand its offerings to include ground flower, transdermal patches and other new products.
The state Department of Health, which oversees the program, has said its focus is on serving the patients, who suffer from debilitating or life-threatening diseases.
One step to improve access included the ongoing addition of five new medical-marijuana companies to operate in the state, a move that will double the number of dispensaries to 40.
Other dispensaries in the Lower Hudson Valley include Etain’s Main Street site in Yonkers and Vireo Health’s location in downtown White Plains. There are currently no dispensaries in Rockland County.