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New York Hospitals Will Treat Patients With Medical Marijuana

On the heels of the deadline for pot growers to submit applications to hold one of five licenses to supply New York with medical marijuana comes news that the state’s newfound cannabis industry has gained the support of many influential hospitals.

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that while the State Health Department was not yet prepared to reveal the list of applicants, several hospitals have come forward to announce that they have established partnerships that will allow them to provide medical marijuana to their patients if they are awarded a license.

One of the facilities, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, revealed that they have teamed up with Silverpeak Apothecary, a medical marijuana company based in Colorado, to form a new company – Silverpeak NY. The goal of this partnership, according to the hospital’s chief executive, Michael Dowling, is to ensure their patients have access to medicinal cannabis.

North Shore-L.I.J. “recognizes the importance of our patients having access to every legal option to manage the symptoms of their illness, if there is clinical evidence to support marijuana’s use for the condition,” Dowling said in a statement.

Several other major medical organizations announced that they, too, were planning to offer medical marijuana as part of their health services. The University of Rochester Medical Center and Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Health System told the NY Times that they were currently negotiating with companies that have applied for a license in order to bring medical marijuana to their facilities in the event that these organizations receive approval.

University of Rochester Medical Center chief operating officer, Peter Robinson, said that while the hospital had not yet entered into a contract with a specific company, he felt “positively encouraged” that a working relationship would be established if the licensing process goes in their favor.

There would be no “on-site dispensary,” however, due to the challenges with conducting profitable business dealings inside a non-for-profit medical facility, Robinson added.

Although the organization did not elaborate on the details, the NY Times indicates that The Greater New York Hospital Association has also filed an application in hopes of being awarded the right to take part in the state’s medical marijuana program.

Only five producers, which could be announced within the month, will earn the opportunity to grow and sell medical marijuana in New York. These five companies will be permitted to open four dispensaries across the state, with medical marijuana being available to patients by the beginning of 2016.

Unfortunately, while there appears to be a great deal of enthusiasm surrounding the business side of this program, the brass tacks of medical marijuana in New York only allows patients suffering from 10 qualified conditions to have access cannabis.

Most supporters, however, agree that while the program is not ideal, they feel confident that the approved list of conditions and diseases will likely expand once the program has time to mature.

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