Medical Marijuana Growers Can Apply for Licenses in New York

Medical MarijuanaMedical marijuana growers can now apply for licenses in the State of New York. However, it will cost $210,000 for potential cannabis suppliers to apply for a New York State license, according to state regulations released on Monday, April 27. Moreover, only five suppliers will be selected statewide at this juncture. Furthermore, those five suppliers will be allowed to open up to four dispensaries each to distribute the medical cannabis. Interested parties will have until May 29 to apply for licenses and the state hopes to award licenses by July 2015.

Businesses not awarded a cannabis supplier license will be reimbursed $200,000 of the $210,000 application fee. Hence, there is a non-refundable $10,000 registration fee for each interested applicant.

While medical marijuana growers can now apply for licenses in New York, the state’s medical marijuana program will not be fully implemented until sometime next year. As a result, parents of children with debilitating neurological conditions urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers on Tuesday to make the drug available earlier for those patients with the greatest need. Moreover, there is also a movement by lawmakers to expand access to the program once implemented. Currently, those patients who will be granted access to cannabis is very restricted, and the drug will not be available to many other pain sufferers whom could greatly benefit from the plant-based drug therapy.

Legislation is currently pending in the New York State Assembly to authorize emergency access to medical marijuana while state regulators finalize the details of the program. However, the measure faces certain challenges with Cuomo’s administration, which expressed concerns over expediting access for certain patients. They argue it could result in delaying the larger program as a whole and run into federal opposition.

Another obstacle that is preventing early access to cannabis is the fact federal officials denied New York’s request in 2014 to import marijuana from another medical marijuana-approved state to expedite access for critically ill patients. However, a spokesperson for Cuomo has assured interested parties and constituents that the state government is working to implement the law “as expeditiously as possible under current federal guidelines.” The spokesperson extrapolated that any legal complications that might arise from importing marijuana products over state lines without federal approval could delay implementation of the medical marijuana program, which could create “unnecessary delays” for the wider program and result in harm to pain sufferers statewide.

Even if lawmakers were to vote for an expedited process for certain patients, the state would need to not only establish guidelines for those patients deemed most needy, but also identify a source of marijuana. While medical marijuana growers can now apply for licenses in New York, no suppliers have been authorized to begin growing plants in the state and it will be months before any cannabis crops are ready. This further complication means that drugs seized by law enforcement and imports from states with existing medical marijuana programs are the only viable options for expediting access to medical cannabis for critically ill patients in New York.

As medical marijuana growers begin to apply for licenses in New York, the opportunity will carry a hefty cost for interested parties. Turns out, it will cost $210,000 for potential cannabis suppliers to apply for the New York State license, according to state regulations released on Monday. Moreover, only five suppliers will be selected statewide at this juncture, and those five suppliers will be allowed to open up to four dispensaries each to distribute the medical cannabis. Applicants will have until May 29 to file for licenses and the state hopes to award licenses by this summer. Furthermore, applicants not awarded a cannabis supplier license will be reimbursed $200,000 of the $210,000 application fee. Hence, there is a non-refundable $10,000 registration fee for each interested business.

By Leigh Haugh

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Sources:
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WGRZ
NYC Today
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