Medical marijuana: Lozenges, lotions coming to NY

Cannabis plants at Vireo Health's medical marijuana cultivation

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Also coming to New York will be New York Canna, Valley Agriceuticals and Citiva Medical.

"This is yet another positive step forward for New York State's Medical Marijuana Program", said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

The new rules, which can take effect as soon as late September, ease the state's restrictions on the type of marijuana products available to certified patients by allowing lotions, ointments, patches, certain chewables and lozenges. The Health Department says all products will be subject to rigorous testing.

The changes proposed Thursday would also allow prospective patients and health providers to enter a retail outlet to speak directly with staff about products, even if they have not yet been certified to participate in the program. Currently, patients have to use an inhaler, a vaporizer or ingest capsules. The changes include having shortened versions of the practitioner's course required to certify patients for medical marijuana.

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Vireo Health of New York CEO Ari Hoffnung commended the department for the updated regulations. The current rules only allow patients that are already certified in the program.

Last week, the state approved five new companies to manufacture and distribute the drug, adding to the five that began operating previous year.

The new regulations will be entered into the public record August 23, after which they will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before they can be adopted.

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