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NY Sen. Savino: Protocol To Obtain Medical Marijuana

Robert Celt

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My heart bleeds for "Mob Wives" star, Staten Islander Angela Raiola ("Big Ang") -- who lost her courageous battle against stage-four cancer early Thursday morning. My deepest condolences go out to her family and friends.

Cancer stinks, and regardless of your celebrity and station in life, nobody deserves to suffer through what cancer doles out. Not Big Ang, not our relatives, not our coworkers, not strangers. Nobody.

Big Ang was larger than life and helped so many people, in addition to generously using her celebrity to warn others on the perils of smoking, which she had done for 40 years, which was associated with her not one but three cancer diagnoses.

It was a very generous thing to do, to use your own suffering as a cautionary tale to spare others of pain. I admire and respect that.

Because of Big Ang's enormous popularity and her presence in the news, medical marijuana has also gained some attention as an alternative to more highly addictive opioid pain medication.

State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn), the sponsor of a bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes -- which Governor Cuomo signed in July 2014 as the Compassionate Care Act legalizing Medical Marijuana -- had reached out to Big Ang and her family a week before her untimely death to offer support and assistance in the proper protocol to become a certified patient here in New York.

"In July of 2015, the state issued five licenses to entities to grow and process medical marijuana and there will be 20 dispensaries across the state," said Ms. Savino.

"On January 7, the first dispensary opened in Union Square and the rest are coming on line shortly." She noted that it is illegal to buy medical cannabis in New York unless you are a registered patient.

"Potential patients on Staten Island may hear the story and think they can get marijuana themselves or do something similar," she said. "But there is a process for patients to register and for physicians who are interested in taking required courses to become legal prescribers.

"In order to be able to use New York State's Medical Marijuana Program, a patient must have one of the qualifying conditions. The first step to becoming a certified patient in New York is to discuss with your treating physician your desire to become such a patient.

"If your physician agrees, they must recommend you and you must apply to the state Department Of Health for approval. Your doctor must be certified by the state to become a recommending physician."

Physicians must complete a four-hour New York State Department of Health-approved course and register with the department to certify patients. Practitioners must consult the New York State Prescription Monitoring Program Registry prior to issuing a certification to a patient for medical marijuana.

"Physicians are required to take a four-hour online training course, available on the state website, which is critical, as physicians must familiarize themselves with the prescribing and dosing for patients," said Ms. Savino.

She also noted that the NYS Compassionate Care Act does not allow sale or use of flower, bud or smokable marijuana. The forms approved are oils, sublingual (under the tongue) and vaporizable strains.

Who qualifies for medical marijuana?

Only patients with one of the following severe, debilitating or life-threatening conditions may qualify for the Medical Marijuana Program: Cancer, positive status for HIV or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease.

Also eligible are patients with multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, or Huntington's disease.

Patients must also have one of the following associated or complicating conditions: Cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.

Registration facts for medical marijuana

According to the New York state website, patients who are certified by their practitioners must apply to the Department of Health to obtain a registry identification card in order to obtain medical marijuana, in accordance with any recommendations made by the patient's practitioner.

During the patient registration process, certified patients may designate up to two caregivers, who must also register with the state Department of Health, to obtain and administer medical marijuana products on their behalf.

There is a $50 application fee, which will be billed to patients at a later date, unless they obtain a waiver for financial hardship. Patients will be required to provide proof of their identity and residency during the application process. Visit the website (below) for additional information regarding required documentation.

Patients must have the registry ID card and their certification in order to purchase approved medical marijuana products, as recommended by their certifying physician, from a registered organization's dispensing facility.

Patients must always carry their registry ID card whenever they possess approved medical marijuana products. No one may transport medical marijuana products outside of New York state, and the state does not accept certifications or registry ID cards from other states.


News Moderator: Robert Celt 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: NY Sen. Savino: Protocol To Obtain Medical Marijuana
Author: Dr. Gracelyn Santos
Contact: siLive
Photo Credit: Anthony DePrimo
Website: siLive
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