Two years ago, life looked very different for Penelope Crescibene.
“I had become very ill,” she said. “I have an autoimmune disease and arthritis.”
Opioids prescribed by doctors weren’t working. In fact, she said nothing was until she tried medical marijuana.
“It was miraculous. I don’t know how to explain [it],” she said.
The challenge for her became obtaining medical marijuana, even though it’s legal.
“I could not afford a medical card through NYS,” she said. “It’s been very difficult to find a doctor who can prescribe it.”
The New York State Department of health is now looking to change that.

As they think about legalizing recreational use, the department Wednesday released suggestions to make medical marijuana more accessible.

Some of the recommendations made:
  •  Permit all doctors who can prescribe controlled substances to become registered providers.
  •  Initiate a pilot study to assess the cost-benefits of health insurance coverage for medical marijuana.
  •  Implement regular research studies of approved medical marijuana products.
But at listening session in October on the topic of legalizing recreational marijuana, some were opposed.
“If somebody is sick, marijuana isn’t going to help their problem,” one speaker said.
“We already have drug problems and alcohol problems. It’s only going to be another problem to be managed,” another speaker said.