New York health department suggests doubling the number of growers for medical marijuana program

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New York’s health department recommends doubling the number of organizations allowed to supply medical marijuana over the next two years. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK — The state health department recommended doubling the number of organization’s registered to supply medical marijuana in New York over the next two years in a recently released report.

About 6,800 patients have registered with the program since the Compassionate Care Act went into effect in late December 2015. They can receive their medical marijuana from one of five organizations with dispensaries around the state.

The Health Department also recommended increasing the number of brands allowed under state law, allowing those brands to advertise more, allowing nurse practitioners to certify patients, allowing schools to administer medical marijuana, making it easier for practitioners to register with the program, evaluating the possibility of home deliveries and studying if medical marijuana should be used to treat additional conditions.

Medical marijuana is currently allowed for people dealing with cancer, HIV infections, ALS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, among other conditions.

More than half of New York’s registered users use medical marijuana to treat severe or chronic pain, according to the report. Most of the registered users – nearly 75 percent – are 41 or older.