Gov. Cuomo signs bill adding PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana!

Last update: November 29, 2017


To mark Veterans Day, in November 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an MPP Foundation-backed bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition, making New York the 28th of the 29 medical marijuana states to allow PTSD patients to qualify.

While New York’s medical marijuana program has been roundly criticized for being unduly restrictive and failing to provide meaningful access for patients, it has been slowly improving over the last year as the Department of Health and the legislature have taken significant steps to address some of the gaps. For example, the Department of Health added chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions, with some restrictions. This is particularly important because medical marijuana can help patients reduce their use of dangerous opioids. MPP and our supporters urged that the restrictions in the proposed rules be removed, and while the Department of Health declined to do so, it did clarify that patients need not try opioids prior to qualifying for medical cannabis.

But, many more improvements can still be made, such as easing onerous restrictions that make New York one of the most expensive places to purchase medical cannabis and encouraging more doctors to participate in the program.

New poll shows 62% of New York voters support legalizing and taxing marijuana


The poll, which is available here, was commissioned by MPP Foundation and the Drug Policy Alliance and conducted by Emerson College in November 2017. A majority supported legalization across all party affiliations and age groups, except people aged 75 and older. Hopefully, lawmakers will soon catch up to their constituents and pass legislation to tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over. Click here to ask them to do so.

New York still has not fixed its decrim law 40 years later


New York was one of the first states in the nation to decriminalize the possession of marijuana — in 1977. Yet, 40 years later there is still a giant loophole in the law, which has caused thousands more arrests, and all of the collateral consequences that come with them. The “public view” exception to the decriminalization law has been widely abused by police officers, who order people, mostly young people of color, to empty their pockets and then arrest them for possessing marijuana in public view. Over 18,000 people were still arrested for marijuana possession in 2016, in New York City alone.

Several bills were introduced during the 2017 legislative session that would have addressed this issue in some way, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed his support for fixing this problem when he laid out his 2017 legislative priorities. Unfortunately, none of the proposals moved forward before the legislature adjourned for the year.

A more comprehensive fix to New York’s unfair and wasteful marijuana laws would be to legalize marijuana for adults and regulate it like alcohol.

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