Marijuana Trade Association Formed in NY to Create ‘Safest, Most Effective’ Marijuana Program

marijuana New York

marijuana New YorkMarijuana supporters in New York have come together from several corners of the city to help the Cannabis industry get its legs in the state. Advocates from the government affairs as well as New York medical and public policy sectors have joined to help State regulators create a safe, effective medical marijuana program.

Named the Medical Cannabis Industry Alliance of New York (MCIA), it aims at benefiting everyone – dispensaries, doctors, and medical marijuana patients. It couldn’t have formed at a better time considering some of the regulatory hiccups that have occurred in other states that recently went forward with legalization. Zoning issues and dispensary certification are on the top of that list.

“This new association will work to bring the best practices from around the country and meld them with the unique needs of New York State’s diverse communities, so we have the safest and most effective program possible,” said Melissa Hilt, a founding board member of MCIA. “We recognize the enormous challenge, and workload, the State regulators face in the coming months.

We hope to be a resource that allows that work to proceed efficiently so we can ensure this program is up and running as soon as possible so patients can get the relief they so desperately need.”

For now, individuals seeking to open their own dispensaries are not permitted to speak directly to regulators who are making laws concerning marijuana sales. Health Department officials are determining the legality of speaking with the trade group, MCIA, as a means of hearing complaints and suggestions from either newly opening marijuana businesses, doctors who are responsible for writing patient prescriptions, or those who wish to participate in this burgeoning market.

“Like dozens of other dedicated parents, my husband and I spent countless hours over the last several years working to legalize medical marijuana in New York,” said Hilt, a parent, patient advocate, and Registered Nurse from East Greenbush, NY. “It was a great honor to see Governor Cuomo sign the bill onto law, but my work doesn’t stop there. “Now we need to make sure this program is a success from every perspective, and I’m looking forward to providing my perspective on best practices when it comes to patient care,” Hilt said.

The MCIA wants to act as a clearinghouse for the many local and national business groups that are looking to set up shop now that medical marijuana has been legalized in New York. Board members feel they can effectively use their expertise to guide those just coming into the business. They do not; however, want to be confused with advocates for recreational marijuana and they will not participate in bidding on the five state licenses to be issued by the Health Department.

“This entity is strictly designed to help create and promote the safest, most efficient medical marijuana program possible in New York,” the organization’s prepared statement reads.

Founding members of the MCIA will include companies like Gaia Plant Based Medicine, KannaLife Sciences, and Retail Wholesale Department Store Workers Union/AFL-CIO. Other groups are also expected to join the association.

While getting the Compassionate Care Act passed was an admirable feat, it looks like many people will participate in making sure that patients seeking medical marijuana get appropriate care, and the industry itself is regulated with input from those actively participating in the marijuana field. Sounds good.