Registration is now open for businesses vying for the five slots to dispense medical marijuana in the Empire State.
Last July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act, which makes marijuana accessible to patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS and other diseases. The drug will only be available in non-smoking forms, such as edibles and vaporizers, and businesses must be licensed by the New York State Department of Health
Organization interested in opening up a dispensary must outline their plan to the health department, pay a $10,000 nonrefundable application fee and a $200,000 registration fee, which will be refunded if the organization is not selected. The law allows up to five businesses to operate up to four facilities for a total of 20 locations across the state.
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“This represents an important step in implementing the medical marijuana program in New York State,” Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement. “We have laid out an ambitious timeline in getting the program up and running and we are meeting our goals. Once the applications are in, we can begin our review and move to the next step of selecting the registered organizations this summer.”
Earlier this year, State Senator Liz Krueger called for the legalization of recreational marijuana, allowing anyone over 18 to possess and 21 to buy the drug. The bill would also allow six plants to be kept in a residence, and the State Liquor Authority would tax and regulate the substance.