Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to do a ceremonial bill-signing today of the medical-marijuana law — which he quietly signed Saturday to abide by the 10-day period after it was sent to his desk to put it into law.
His signature starts an 18-month clock for the state to craft regulations for the program, award contracts to grow and dispense the drug and decide whether conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder should be included.
For some major medical providers and groups in New York, the program has been met with a mix of intrigue and apprehension, and it’s unclear which doctors will actively participate in the program.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
Q: When will the medical-marijuana law take effect?
With Gov. Andrew Cuomo signature, it starts the 18-month clock to have New York’s medical-marijuana program up and running.
Q: Which diseases or conditions are eligible for marijuana treatment?
A: Cancer, HIV or AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal-cord injuries, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s disease.
Before the program is launched, the state health commissioner will have to decide whether to include five other conditions: Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder and rheumatoid arthritis.
Q: How can diseases or conditions be added to the eligible list?
A: The state’s health commissioner can add diseases at his discretion.
Q: Where will the marijuana be grown and dispensed?
A: It remains to be seen. The state will award five total licenses to marijuana growers. Each grower will be able to operate up to four dispensaries.
The growers and dispensary locations will ultimately be approved by the Department of Health, which is required to ensure they are spread across the state.