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Recommending Cannabis in New York
If you are a health care professional who wishes to recommend medical cannabis, you must be licensed to do so by the State of New York and have to meet the following criteria:
- Be qualified to treat patients with one or more of the qualifying conditions;
- Be licensed, in good standing as a physician and practicing medicine, in the State of New York;
- Have completed an educational course developed by the New York Department of Health ("Department of Health" or "Department");
- Have registered with the Department of Health to issue patient certifications for medical cannabis.
New York requires all physicians seeking to certify patients for medical marijuana to take a two- to four-hour physician education program, which is now available via The Answer Page or The Medical Cannabis Institute.
Updates to regulations in August 2017 allowed nurse practitioners and physician assistants to certify qualifying patients. These regulations also provided an option for a two hour education course as well as the four hour education course that was already in place.
Upon successful completion of that program, practitioners may register with the Medical Marijuana Program ("MMP") by emailing the course completion certificate (in PDF format) to [email protected] along with the physician's state license number and Health Commerce System (HCS) User ID. Once validated, practitioners will receive, via e-mail, a link authorizing them to participate in the MMP and issue patient certifications.
In issuing certifications to qualifying patients, practitioners must also comply with the following requirements:
- Must consult the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program prior to issuing certification to review patient's controlled substance history;
- Must retain a copy of each patient's certification;
- Must report all patient certifications to the Department;
- Have the patient under continued care for his or her serious condition;
- Must not knowingly issue certification to a person with (a) no medical need for it or (b) for a purpose other than the treatment of a qualifying condition as defined by law in the State of New York.
Presently, only physicians are permitted to make written certifications for medical marijuana, but the Department of Health Commissioner has the authority to expand the program to nurse practitioners.