Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill to allow medical marijuana to be used as an alternative to opioids for pain management.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health added opioid replacement and opioid-use disorder to the list of conditions that qualify a patient to be prescribed medicinal marijuana in New York. This new law formalizes these previous changes in policy and legitimizes a medical professional’s prescription.
According to a press release, medical marijuana can only be prescribed by a medical professional if the pain the patient is experiencing “degrades health and functional capability, with certain other requirements.”
The Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Linda Rosenthal, said “By adding substance use disorder and pain management to the list of conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana, we will be allowing New Yorkers to take advantage of a harm reduction technique that can be used as an alternative to highly addictive opioids.”
The state has previously added chronic pain and PTSD to the list of treatable conditions for medical marijuana.
At the same time, Governor Cuomo’s administration is working to draft legislation for the legalization of recreational marijuana.