Medical marijuana patients in New York have some good news, as the state has adopted new regulations making it easier to get the drug.
The new rules allow home-bound patients to get medical cannabis via delivery while granting nurse practitioners authority to recommend the drug to patients who need it. This removes the need for time-consuming exams by medical doctors.
In addition, officials could double the number of companies that operate MMJ dispensaries across the state, to 10 from five. In anticipation of the changes, Business Insider sent a reporter to visit a typical New York pot shop. Here’s a summary.
The magazine explored a shop operated by Columbia Care, a medical cannabis business that also runs dispensaries in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada. The stores are designed by RPG, a retail display business.
Among other locations, Columbia Care operates a store-front pot shop off 14th Street near Union Square. It’s a new retail store in a modern-style building, and the office feels almost nothing like a clinic or typical dispensary. The walls have rounded angles, the reception area is adorned with plants and wood, and the lighting is soft and pleasing everywhere in the shop.
The business logo – Cs inside Cs – reflects a highly professional approach that honors New York’s MMJ program, a highly restrictive system that discourages recreational toking. Columbia Care and its Manhattan location gives little hint that cannabis is sold there.
“It’s physically bringing you into the space,” Bruce Teitelbaum of RPG said of the rounded walls.
Inside, Columbia Care is a mix of 20th century design and more modern touches. But the architecture and furniture also reflect practical concerns: A blue couch, for example, offers seating for patients with disorders that limit their mobility.
Other aspects of the design are made to keep customers relaxed and comfortable, with walls painted a warm orange. Stone and wood are combined throughout the shop in a calming manner.
Medical marijuana is available to New York patients who suffer from a short list of “debilitating or life threatning” disorders, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease. But patients may not smoke the drug; instead, they must vaporize it or ingest it by mouth.
Patients are also typically limited to extremely small daily cannabis doses, rendering it a useless treatment for many of them. And even in small amounts, medicinal marijuana can run patients more than $300 per month, roughly $1 per milligram of THC, or $10 for a single recreational dose of THC-infused chocolate.
“Insurance does not cover these products, but we offer financial subsidies to patients who need assistance to access the products,” Teitelbaum said. “Our goal is to ensure 100% of qualifying patients can afford our products and will collaborate with the State to reach this goal.”
The list of qualifying disorders will likely grow in coming months and could soon include Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental or neurological illnesses.
Let us know: Is New York getting medical marijuana right? What would you change? Leave a comment.