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Health & Wellness

More changes to NY's medical marijuana rules

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New York State is making more changes to its medical marijuana program.

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.

"We are grateful to the Department of Health for listening to what patients need and working to expand the program and increase access to medical marijuana," said Kate Bell, Legislative Counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project. "Different patients benefit from different types of products and we are glad that the new rules will allow a wider variety of choices. This is a great step toward reducing costs and improving patients’ options."

New York has one of the nation's more conservative medical cannabis programs and smokable marijuana  still is not allowed. However, officials say they are 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.

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