PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WVNY/NEWS10) – On Monday, January 24, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced the launch of a new Medical Cannabis Program certification and registration system. OCM says the system will make it easier to use and expand the eligibility criteria for patients who can benefit from medical cannabis. 

Now, patients are able to be certified for medical marijuana by a practitioner for any condition that they see fit, and more health professionals can prescribe it. According to OCM patients certified through the new certification and registration system will be issued their certification from the OCM. Certifications issued from the Department of Health will continue to remain valid as long as they have not reached their expiration date they say.

Not only will more patients be allowed to be prescribed marijuana, but more practitioners including dentists, podiatrists, and midwives will be able to prescribe it. “I think it’s great that they have taken the control of this substance away from the government and give it to the practitioners who are trained to know how to dispense any drug and to treat anything,” said local doctor James Saperstone.

In addition, those certifications will be re-issued from the OCM after said expiration. All current caregivers will be re-issued new registry ID cards with the patient’s name printed on them to better identify which patient(s) they are authorized to assist. 

Since the Board’s first meeting on Oct. 5, 2021, the OCM and the Cannabis Control Board have taken action by:

  • Allowing the sale of whole flower medical cannabis products
  • Expanding the types of eligible clinical providers able to certify patients to any practitioner who is licensed to prescribe controlled substances in New York State, including dentists, podiatrists, and midwives
  • Increasing the amount of approved medical cannabis that may be dispensed to a certified patient or designated caregiver from a thirty (30) day supply to a sixty (60) day supply
  • Permanently waiving the patient and caregiver $50 registration fee
  • Streamlining the approval for facilities such as hospitals, residential facilities, and schools to become designated caregiver facilities to hold and dispense products for patients

Dr. Athena Graves from Champlain Smiles in Plattsburgh says she would consider prescribing cannabis for some patients. In a statement, she says, “I am aware of research demonstrating the ability for THC to reduce anxiety and pain in some people and many people are anxious about dental treatment in general. If a cannabis-based pill, ointment, or oil allows my patients to comfortably maintain proper oral health, then I am in support of that.”