NY state leaders agree on medical marijuana pilot program


New York governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders have come to an agreement on a pilot program that would provide access to medical marijuana for state residents, reports the Times.

The announcement came after days of intense negotiations between the Legislature and Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, who had proffered a more restrictive system earlier this year that was roundly criticized as unworkable for thousands of potential patients.

The new agreement included a major demand of the Cuomo administration: that no smoking of the drug would be permitted, though a variety of other options — including edibles and tinctures — would be. Patients would also be allowed to inhale if the drug was vaporized, similar to e-cigarettes.

In related news to the north, a Montreal hospital this week announced that it will allow patients in the hospital to use marijuana on premises. Pot is legal for medicinal use in Canada; individual hospitals and physicians can decide on whether or not they approve use.

The council put together a working group comprised of an ethics consultant, a palliative care doctor, an anesthesiologist and a pharmacist, which produced a report on how the practice would unfold at the hospital. The report recommends vaporized medical marijuana be used with “caution” and in “precise conditions,” namely that the patient has a private room, that they have government permission to use the marijuana and that they supply their own marijuana and vaporizer.

The council cites scientific studies that show medical marijuana can be used to ease pain, insomnia and nausea caused by chemotherapy as reasons to allow the practice.