ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state is making more changes to its medical marijuana program designed to speed patient access and allow a wider array of treatment options.
Health officials announced new regulations Thursday that will permit new forms of the drug, including chewable and effervescent tablets and lozenges as well as topical lotions, ointments and patches.
The state also plans to create a new, shorter training program for physicians interested in authorizing medical marijuana for patients. The intent is to offer a two-hour training program in addition to the existing four-hour training, officials said.
“This is yet another positive step forward for New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program,” New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement announcing the news. “These regulations will continue to improve the program in several ways, including making new forms of medical marijuana available and improving the dispensing facility experience.”
New York has one of the nation’s more conservative medical cannabis programs, and smokeable marijuana still isn’t allowed. Products currently available are mostly limited to tinctures, oils for vaporization, and capsules to be taken orally. Officials say they’re continuing to look for ways to tinker with the rules to make it easier for patients to get the help they need.
The new regulations are expected to take effect next month.
As of Tuesday, there were 26,561 patients authorized to obtain medical marijuana in the state and 1,155 practitioners registered to recommend cannabis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.