News & Insights

News & Insights

Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in New York State

Hospitals are getting on board, with hospices and nursing facilities to follow


New York is joining some 20 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the use of marijuana for treatment of serious illness. New York’s law is more restrictive than that of many other states, but it is considered a step in the right direction by marijuana advocates and lawmakers who have been pushing for legalization of medical marijuana for some time.


To obtain marijuana for medical purposes, patients have to be certified by a practitioner who is registered with the New York State Department of Health and has completed a four-hour training program. To qualify for medical marijuana, a patient must have one of the following severe, debilitating or life-threatening conditions, or similar conditions that are approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Health: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with 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.


Marijuana cannot be legally dispensed in a form for smoking, but must be in the form of an extract in oil for sublingual administration, an extract for vaporization, or an extract in a capsule for ingestion. The concentration of THC and CBD, the two main ingredients in marijuana, is regulated and will be subject to testing.


Hospitals are leading the way in physician certification, but hospices and nursing facilities can encourage certification of their physicians and develop policies for use of medical marijuana to improve the well-being of patients and as a marketing tool.


For more information, contact Brett Burnbaum at