Public Comments on Proposed Rule Making - Medical Use of Cannabis


Proposed Rule Making - Medical Use of Cannabis

Below you will find the Public Comments on Proposed Rule Making - Medical Use of Cannabis submitted to the NYS Department of Health.




To: Ms. Katherine Ceroalo, Bureau of House Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Unit, New York State Department of Health From: Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML, David C. Holland, Esq., Executive and Legal Director, Empire State NORML, Troy Smit, Executive Director, NORML Long Island, Board Member, Empire State NORML

Date: February 17, 2015 Re: Proposed Rule Making for Medical Use of Cannabis, I.D. No. HLT-52-14-0013-P


Proposed regulation: Section 80-1.2(a)(8) requires that a practitioner’s certification be limited solely to the specific severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions defined in subdivision seven of § 3360 of the public health law, which are listed therein, or any other condition added by the commissioner.

Comment: The specific severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions (the “Qualifying Conditions”) listed therein represent a small subset of the conditions for which cannabis has been shown to be safe and effective for. We believe that there was little input from health experts on the final list of Qualifying Conditions. The department should promulgate regulations establishing a medical expert review process for adding and deleting Qualifying Conditions. Proposed regulation: Section 80-1.3(d)(4) provides that an application for a registry identification card shall include a nonrefundable application fee of fifty dollars; provided, however, that the department may waive or reduce the fee in cases of financial hardship as determined by the department. Comment: The department should set explicit standards for financial hardship, such as eligibility for various federal means tested programs, i.e. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), nonemergency Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). See also Colorado’s rules specifying income criteria for an indigence fee waiver. Proposed Regulation: Section 80-1.4 provides that caregivers designated to handle approved medical marihuana products on behalf of certified patients are required to register with the department according to the procedures detailed in this section and to obtain a registry identification card.

Comment: To provide and expedite emergency access to medical cannabis, and prevent further loss of life, caregivers whose patients are not within a set distance of a RO dispensing facility should be legally allowed to purchase, transport or cultivate medical marijuana in limited quantities for their patients legally as long as they are registered with the State, as they do in Massachusetts and Arizona. Pursuant to proposed § 80-1.11(g), medical marihuana products will be strictly limited to highly processed and costly forms of administration.  Therefore, the department should also consider the willingness of applicants to dispense medical marihuana products to certified patients on a sliding scale or for free.  See, for example, regulations implementing the District of Columbia’s sliding scale program and Massachusetts’ requirement that registered marijuana dispensaries must have a program to provide reduced cost or free marijuana to patients with documented verified financial hardship. Proposed Regulation: Section 80-1.11(c)(1) provides that each registered organization may initially produce up to five brands of medical marihuana product with prior approval of the department. These brands may be produced in multiple forms as approved by the commissioner. Thereafter, additional brands may be approved by the department. However, in no case shall marihuana in unprocessed whole flower form be made available to certified patients. Comment: Not allowing certified patients to access cannabis in its natural unprocessed form is unique to New York and Minnesota. Cannabis has never been listed as a primary cause of death in mortality statistics. By prohibiting access to whole plant cannabis, there are likely to be certified patients with qualifying conditions that will be unable to fully benefit from the medical marihuana products permitted under the proposed regulations. The synergistic effects of whole plant medicine have been well documented over the years.  The department should allow dispensing facilities to supply certified patients with whole plant cannabis for vaporization. Furthermore, placing a limit upon how many brands a registered organization may initially produce will reduce the public health benefits of the program. Practitioners’ abilities to help a certified patient determine the brand that best treats their qualifying condition would be maximized by lifting this cap, which will restrict patients from being able to find the brand that’s best suited to treat their qualifying condition.  NJ initially limited each ATC to three strains of low, medium and high potency, but those restrictions were repealed in September 2013. Proposed regulation: Section 80.1-16 relates to the marketing and advertising of registered organizations. It seeks to limit the time, place and manner in which such advertising and marketing of a registered organization is permitted. Comment: The restrictions far exceed the constitutionally permissible regulation of commercial speech under time, place and manner restrictions and force registered organizations to incur restrictions that are not imposed on pharmacies or other facilities that market medicines in general or for specific afflictions.  The limitation of only one public visible signage, limited to black and white print, and the proscription of using any language or art that promotes medical marijuana in that signage is not a proper basis to prohibit commercial speech.  Further, the requirement that there be no promotion of a particular strain or brand for a the treatment of a particular symptom is unduly restrictive as the limitations on the number of strains that may be carried requires selectivity in the types that can address various symptomologies.  Last, the requirement that any claim of effectiveness be fair and balanced and supported only by demonstrable medical research and reports that are widely accepted in the medical profession are unduly burdensome. The medical profession has been deprived of meaningful opportunities to conduct mass scale research and the number of scientific reports that delve into the effectiveness of marijuana are scant and not widely accepted because the medical profession has been limited in such research due to the continuing Schedule I status of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. The better approach would be to allow advertising in line with that permitted by other purveyors of medical products; permit promotion of strain effectiveness based upon anecdotal information known to the vendor; and the ability to rely upon research that is founded upon accepted medical methodologies regardless of whether the particular theory promoted has been widely accepted in the medical community.


Watch Empire State NORML-NY Cannabis Alliance-Brooklyn Live

Watch Empire State NORML-NY Cannabis Alliance-Brooklyn LIVE!

(Brooklyn, NY): Empire State NORML-NY Cannabis Alliance-Brooklyn LIVE! Discussing the recent passing of the Compassionate Care Act, Medical Marijuana and the state of marijuana policy in New York in large including decriminalization, repealing prohibition and MORE!!

Doug Greene (Empire State NORML); Adam Scavone (New York Cannabis Alliance); Sam Oakford (VICE News); Brooklyn Independent Media (BK Live)

Empire State NORML is a grassroots non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to moving public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable. Empire State NORML's is the NY State affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The New York Cannabis Alliance is a diverse coalition of advocates including consumers, patients, veterans, politicians, legal and medical professionals, and all those who believe that current cannabis laws are unjust and unsustainable. New York Cannabis Alliance works to educate lawmakers and the citizens of New York to enact laws that protect the interests of those involved in the production, distribution and use of cannabis.

VICE News is an international news channel created by and for a connected generation. Our documentaries and original news series bring you an unvarnished look at some of the most important events of our time, and shine a light on underreported stories around the globe. Unorthodox and at times irreverent, we get to the heart of the matter and call it like we see it.

Compassionate Care Act advances in NY Senate! What's next?


Compassionate Care Act advances in NY Senate!

Editors note: This action alert is from 2014 and no longer active The Compassionate Care Act passed the Senate Health Committee this week by a 9-8 vote with Republican Senator William Larkin casting the deciding vote. Now Medical Marijuana passed through the Health Committee for the first time sense 2009 it is now on to the Senate Finance Committee.

The Senate Finance Committee is made up for 37 seats including 20 republicans and 17 democrats. We need at minimum 19 votes to pass this bill. The people of New York NEED to put more pressure on the Senate Finance Committee to make sure we have enough vote to pass it through.

The Senate Finance Committee Chair, Senator DeFrancisco, said is a statement on Friday that he is relinquishing himself from responsibility of having to call the bill to a vote, instead he is leaving it up to Senate Leadership "If the two leaders want it on the agenda, it will go on the agenda." One of the two, Senator Klein, is a co-sponsor of the Compassionate Care Act, so he would want it to come to a vote naturally. One can only assume because of that what Senator DeFrancisco really meant was if the Republican half of the Senate leadership, Senator Skelos, wants it to be on the agenda, it will be on the agenda. 

The Compassionate Care Act NEEDS to get on the agenda, NOW!  We have until June 19th to pass this through the Senate Finance Committee, The Senate Rules Committee, The Senate Floor and then the governor can sign it into law.

If you're asking yourself what you can do to help pass the Compassionate Care Act, ask no further and read below.

Step 1:

Call Senator Skelos' office  (518) 455-3171 and read off this simple script


Hi, my name is (Your Name), My zip code is (Zip code) and I would like to ask Senator Skelos to support the Compassionate Care Act and ask Senator DeFrancisco to bring it to a vote in the Finance Committee. Thanks, Have a nice day!


Step 2:

Call the Senate Finance Committee members office's(see list below), asking each and every one of them to support the compassionate care act.


Hi, my name is (Your Name), My zip code is (Zip code) and I want to urge the Senator to support medical marijuana and to vote for the Compassionate Care Act. Thank you and have a nice day!


Senator Party Phone Email
Chair: John A. DeFrancisco R (518)-455-3511
Hugh T. Farley R (518)-885-1829
John J. Flanagan R (518)-455-2071
Martin J. Golden R (518)-455-2730
Joseph A. Griffo R (518)-455-3334
Kemp Hannon R (518)-455-2200
Andrew J Lanza R (518)-455-3215
Kenneth P. LaValle R (518)-455-3121
Betty Little R (518)-455-2811
Carl L Marcellino R (518)-455-2390
Jack M. Martins R (518)-455-3265
Michael F. Nozzolio R (518)-455-2366
Thomas F. O'Mara R (518)-455-2091
Michael H. Ranzenhofer R (518)-455-3161
James L. Seward R (518)-455-3131
Catharine Young R (518)-455-3563
Mark Grisanti R (518)-455-3240
Ruben Diaz D (518)-455-2511
Daniel L. Squadron D (518)-455-2625
Toby Ann Stavisky D (518)-455-3461
Neil D. Breslin D (518)-455-2225
Timothy M. Kennedy D (518)-455-2426
David J. Valesky D (518)-455-2838
Adriano Espaillat D (518)-455-2041
Kevin S. Parker D (518)-455-2580
Bill Perkins D (518)-455-2441
Martin Malavé Dilan D (518)-455-2177
Michael Gianaris D (518)-455-3486
Ruth Hassell-Thompson D (518)-455-2061
Velmanette Montgomery D (518)-455-3451
Gustavo Rivera D (518)-455-3395
Jose Peralta D (518)-455-2529
John J. Bonacic R (518)-455-3181
Liz Krueger D (518)-455-2297
William J. Larkin Jr. R (518)-455-2770
Joseph E. Robach R (518)-455-2909
Diane J. Savino D (518)-455-2437

If you're unable to or don't want to make phone call's you can goto our action alerts on and email your senator with a pre-written email! Compassionate Care Act



Medical Marijuana - Tell the Senate Health Committee To Vote Yes on the Compassionate Care Act


New York's Medical Marijuana bill, The Compassionate Care Act, WILL come to a vote by the end of next week.

Editors note: This action alert is from 2014 and no longer active

Now we need to apply the pressure to the WHOLE Senate Health Committee. The sick and dying patients of New York need YOU ! Call ALL of the comm. members and ask them to support medical marijuana. It's easy. All you do is call the number and leave a message with the staff member who answers the phone. This is your chance to participate in Democracy.

Below you will find a list and a simple script you can read off while calling. Share this far and wide! The time for action is now or never! We've never been closer to passing medical marijuana! We need every single call we can get! It will only take 20 minutes to call each of the 17 senators on this list. Call them daily, they need to know this issue matters.

---------------------------- "Hello. My name is (Your name) and I live at (Your Address). I'm calling to urge the senator to support medical marijuana and vote yes on the Compassionate Care Act when it comes to a vote in committee and on the floor. Not another day should pass that a patient has to suffer because of this. Thank you. Hope you have a nice day!"


 Senate Health Comm. Members.

Senator Party Email Phone Region
Chair: Kemp Hannon R 518-455-2200 Garden City
Greg Ball R (518) 455-3111 Patterson
Hugh Farley R (518) 885-1829 Schenectady
Martin J. Golden R (518) 455-2730 Brooklyn
William J. Larkin, Jr.. R (518) 455-2770 Cornwall-on-Hudson
Jack Martins R (518)-455-3265 Nassua County
James L. Seward R (518) 455-3131 Oneonta
Cathy Young R (518) 455-3563 Olena
Velmanette Montgomery D (518) 455-3451 Boerum Hill
Ted O'Brien D (585) 218-0034 Rochester
Jose R. Peralta D (518) 455-2529 East Elmhurst
Gustavo Richa D (718)-933-2034 Bronx
Diane J. Savino IDC (518) 455-2437 Brooklyn, Staten Island
Jose M. Serrano D (518) 455-2795 East Harlem
Simcha Felder D (518) 455-2754 Brooklyn
Ruth Hassell-Thompson D (518) 455-2061 Bronx
Brad Hoylman D (518) 455-2451 Manhattan

For more information on how to get involved in supporting medical marijuana come to a NORML Meeting 




New York, NY, April 29, 2013- THE NYC CANNABIS PARADE, one of the longest-running public demonstrations against cannabis (marijuana) prohibition, will take place this Saturday, May 4, 2013, beginning with assembly at 12 PM on 24th Street between Park and Madison, followed by a parade led by the “Ganja Granny,” Arlene Williams, down Broadway to Union Square for a mass celebration of cannabis culture, live musical performers and speakers addressing the state of legal reform around the US and in New York, the injustice of arresting and imprisoning cannabis users, the medical uses of cannabis and the critical need to legalize cannabis under local, state and federal law.

The event in Union Square features acts including East Village icon David Peel, African diaspora acoustic percussion ensemble Heritage OP, The Black Market Merchants, and others. Speakers will include NYC mayoral candidate Sal Albanese, Tony Newman from international advocacy group the Drug Policy Alliance, Joanne Naughton (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), Harlem activist Joseph “Jazz” Hayden, Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal MD, PhD, Arlene Williams “the Ganja Granny” (Green Ribbon World), addiction treatment and wellness activist Dimitri Mugianis (NYHRE), Alec Foster  (New York University Students for Sensible Drug Policy), Laura Notini (NORML Women’s Alliance), and radio host and journalist Paul DeRienzo (teacher, independent radio and TV producer and contributor to The VIllager).

“New York has a long tradition as a leader in progressive social policies but now lags far behind the rest of the country in terms of rational marijuana laws. As marijuana law reform spreads around the US and overseas, it is high time that New York City and New York State join the movement away from the futile and destructive policy of marijuana prohibition,” said Parade Coalition member and NORML Long Island Executive Director Troy Smit.

About the NYC Cannabis Parade and the Global Marijuana March

The NYC Cannabis Parade is an inclusive and peaceful celebration of the ”cannabis culture” that spans national, cultural and racial divisions. It is also a political event demanding an end to Prohibition, a proven disaster.

In 1999, after thirty years, this event turned into the Global Marijuana March and spread to approximately 300 cities around the world. The event occurs annually on the first Saturday in May to unify the community of cannabis reformers and promote a larger conversation about cannabis policy reform and the destruction that accompanies prohibition.


CONTACT: Troy Smit Event URL: