New York’s New Medical Marijuana Law is the Worst in the US

On July 7, New York became the 23rd US state to legalize medical marijuana. But New Yorkers can’t light up a celebratory joint yet. Indeed, many of those who for years pushed for medical marijuana legalization are complaining that the new law falls far short of what the state’s thousands of patients seeking the drug need.

Here’s why:

Only 10% of patients who could use medical marijuana have the right diseases to qualify for it

There is no consensus amongst scientists, researchers and medical professionals across the country on just how many diseases can be treated with medical marijuana. However, researchers at the Center for Medical Cannabis Research at the University of California-San Diego say that patients that suffer from chronic pain most benefit from the use of medical marijuana.  In the New York Compassionate Care Act, only a few of these chronic pain diseases are approved: cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord tissue damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s Disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s Disease).

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization focused on marijuana policy reform in the United States, only a tenth of patients—an estimated 5,070 New Yorkers with rare diseases—will be eligible under these restrictions. The New York State Department of Health says that estimate is premature, since the department has the authority to add more diseases to the list.

“The reasons we chose those diseases was because those diseases there is scientific and anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is beneficial for treatment,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Commissioner of Health. “We need to start at some point. As we move forward on this, we will conduct more research to see what new diseases we can add and we will modify accordingly.”

– Read the entire article at Quartz.