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NY State cannabis board – in its first meeting – relaxes medical marijuana rules

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ALBANY – Its initial start delayed partly by scandals that engulfed Andrew Cuomo in his final months as governor, a new state regulatory panel met for the first time Tuesday as New York State took another step ahead to the commencement of legalized retail sales of marijuana.

The Cannabis Control Board, its work permitted following the recent appointment of its five members by Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders, announced it was immediately loosening rules governing the state’s medical marijuana program, including greatly expanding who can prescribe medical marijuana – to include everyone from dentists to midwives. It also approved  the sale of marijuana flowers, which will make the drug available in a smokable format and, advocates say, reduce the high price of medical marijuana products in New York.

“Our patient access to medical cannabis and improving patient care is a mandate that this board takes very seriously,’’ Tremaine Wright, chair of the state’s Cannabis Control Board, said in the panel’s first meeting Tuesday.

The Legislature earlier this year approved  the changes to the medical marijuana program, which has had 150,000 New Yorkers certified to obtain the drug for a variety of health reasons. It is unknown how many of those people are still actively using the drug, have since died of terminal illnesses that were among the conditions that made them eligible for medical marijuana or have abandoned the drug because of the costs or inconvenience of obtaining it in New York. [Read More @ Buffalo News]

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