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NY proposes regulations for medical marijuana program expected to start in 2016

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ALBANY, New York — New York officials on Thursday proposed regulations for a medical marijuana program expected to start in 2016.

The Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized the program under a law signed in July. It authorizes patients with certain diseases to be able to obtain non-smokeable versions of the drug, which can be ingested or vaporized.

Conditions include AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, certain spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington's Disease.

"Our goal is to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the treatment they need through a controlled, regulated process," said Dr. Howard Zucker, acting state health commissioner.

Meanwhile, officials said they're not getting a federal waiver to bring in medical marijuana right away from another state with a program. New York is working on limited emergency access to the drug with medical institutions in a pilot program, which they hope to outline within the next few months.

The proposed regulations were posted online Thursday by the health department. They will be subject to 45 days of public comments and possible amendments after they are published Dec. 31 in the state Register. They call for licensing five businesses or nonprofits in New York to grow and distribute the drug.

Applicants have to pay a $10,000 fee for review. Those selected would pay an additional $200,000 registration fee and meet security guidelines. The licenses would be for two years.

The regulations would require that patients be certified by their doctors, who have to register with the department and get approved training. Patients then would apply for an identification card needed to receive medical marijuana. Certifications will be good for up to a year. Cards would cost $50, which could be waived for financial hardship.

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Online: http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/docs/regulations.pdf

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