The state of New York announced Tuesday the implementation of new recommendations to its Medical Marijuana Program, which includes home delivery of cannabis and authorizing nurse practitioners to certify patients for the program.
The state’s Department of Health said that the new recommendations were a result of the statewide assessment and that the guidelines will improve the drug’s access for patients who are suffering from serious and life-threatening diseases including cancer, HIV and AIDS, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
“Since launching the program, the Department has worked closely with doctors, patients and registered organizations to gather information relevant to strengthening the program in anticipation of the required two-year report,” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement.
“We are constantly evaluating the program to make it more effective for patients and practitioners, and we believe that the implementation of these recommendations will do just that,” he added.
The implementation of the new guidelines follows a report issued by the Department of Health earlier this month suggesting that the state increase access to the program. The program is described by experts as one of the most restrictive ones in the United States.
The program currently boasts of 7,000 certified patients and 20 dispensaries.
When the program first took off, only certain registered doctors with special training were allowed to certify patients for the program. Now, nurse practitioners can also certify patients for the program. The state also allows a new home delivery system for patients who are too ill to visit a clinic. The state is planning on expanding financial aid and is considering allowing people suffering from chronic pain to use medical marijuana.