Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Montefiore interested in providing medical marijuana

Hospital is one of three in New York City that is exploring legally providing weed to sick patients

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Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News

Bronx medical giant Montefiore is among three New York City hospitals to express interest in a plan rolled out by Gov. Cuomo Jan. 8 to provide medical marijuana to sick patients.

The Bronx is up in smoke.
Bronx medical giant Montefiore is among three New York City hospitals to express interest in a plan rolled out by Gov. Cuomo Jan. 8 to provide medical marijuana to sick patients.
Under Cuomo’s plan, up to 20 hospitals could be given the greenlight by state authorities to treat and research patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma and other illnesses.
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Possession of medical marijuana is still illegal in New York City.
“We want to further explore New York's Controlled Substance Therapeutic Program for medical marijuana and look forward to further discussions with the State Health Department,” said Dr. Steven Safyer, president of Montefiore Health System. “We have an obligation to our patients to consider all safe and effective therapeutic options to cure illness or relieve symptoms.”
Only 20 hospitals across the empire state will be allowed to dispense the medical marijuana if the plan comes to fruition. Gov. Cuomo is able to unilaterally implement the plan through the Antonio G. Oliviere Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Program, a law that enables marijuana and other controlled substances to be used in the treatment of patients with conditions approved by the state health commissioner.
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Bronx medical giant Montefiore is among three New York City hospitals to express interest in a plan rolled out by Gov. Cuomo Jan. 8 to provide medical marijuana to sick patients.

www.kptv.com

Bronx medical giant Montefiore is among three New York City hospitals to express interest in a plan rolled out by Gov. Cuomo Jan. 8 to provide medical marijuana to sick patients.

It remains unclear how the state will obtain the marijuana, but a source familiar with the plan said confiscated weed could potentially be administered in smokable vapor or mashed up in food form.
The project has given advocates high hopes.
“I, as well as the advocates, were pleased that he is moving in the right direction on this important issue,” said Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), who sponsored a more expansive medical marijuana bill in the state senate.
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But proponents of marijuana legalization believe this is the latest example of Albany’s dysfunction over the issue.
“This is just one more variation on politicians trying to do the right thing but simply not having the political will to just say ‘There’s this plant called marijuana, it has varying degrees of potency and we’re going to let doctors recommend and prescribe it,” said Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Another major obstacle is determining how the hospital programs will jibe with federal law, which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule-I narcotic.
“Hospitals can’t distribute medical marijuana — period,” said Savino. “They’re federally licensed facilities. The government will happily come in and shut them down.”
Other local hospitals that have expressed interest in the program include Mount Sinai in Manhattan and North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York City and Long Island.
jscarborough@nydailynews.com
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