New York state lawmakers and advocates of medical marijuana gathered in New York City on Sunday to discuss the implementation of a new state law authorizing marijuana as a treatment for certain medical conditions.
The event drew potential patients, policymakers and hundreds of people interested in working in the new medical marijuana industry. State lawmakers voted this year to make New York the 23rd state to authorize pot for patients with conditions including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy.
But the program isn't likely to be up and running before 2016 as regulators work out the details. Drug suppliers and businesses that provide ventilation, lighting, security or other services related to cultivation attended this weekend's Marijuana Regulatory Summit to learn about the new law, said Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat.
"There is tremendous interest in the establishment of the Compassionate Care Act," said Savino, the lead advocate for the law in the Senate. "They look at this as an emerging industry."
The law will not permit users to smoke the drug. It could be administered through a vaporizer or in an oil base. Marijuana could be prescribed for 10 diseases.
It requires physicians to register and get a few hours of training to prescribe the drug for patients with listed conditions, while establishing a new felony for doctors who knowingly give it to others. Patients are prohibited from sharing.
The state recently requested federal permission to import out-of-state marijuana so children and young adults with epilepsy won't have to wait for the state to finalize its regulations.