The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recently announced plans to develop a regulatory amendment that will add opioid use as a qualifying condition for patients to receive medical marijuana. This enhancement affirms DOH’s recognition that marijuana can be an effective pain-treatment alternative to opioid medications. There are currently 12 other qualifying conditions for patients to receive medical marijuana.

The State Legislature also introduced bills that would allow hospitals and other institutions to become caregivers in the Medical Marijuana Program. These facility caregivers would be afforded certain protections: the ability to possess, acquire, transport, store, or administer medical marijuana product in an effective, streamlined manner. While the bill did not pass this legislative session, GNYHA will continue to advocate for this expansion. DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, JD, also announced that a soon-to-be released report, commissioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo, will recommend legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in New York.

GNYHA will monitor announcements and provide members with additional information as it becomes available. At a recent workgroup meeting, members shared best practices and challenges for operationalizing inpatient use.

GNYHA will continue to work with members on medical marijuana issues and advocate for program amendments that alleviate burdens on hospitals.