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New York’s Medical Marijuana Industry Is in Dire Straits

NY Medical Marijuana Card

The medical marijuana program in New York has been up and running for eight months. But the challenging and restrictive process of qualifying for a medical marijuana card has led to low patient numbers. Furthermore, there are not enough dispensary locations, only five statewide, to dispense medicine to approved patients.

Three licensed dispensaries have not made any money, Ibtimes.com reports. Etain Health, PharmaCann and Vireo Health of New York confirmed those claims. Columbia Care NY and Bloomfield Industries, Inc. declined to comment on their finances.

Electrum Partners founder Leslie Bocskor said in an interview that, “No matter how hard you look, there’s no path, there’s no way to make money in any way. The Program is just so hamstrung as to make it impossible, from my perspective, to find any path to profitability.”

Bocskor declined to invest in a New York marijuana business and said it was “because we just didn’t think that the risk/reward was there for us.”

Numbers reported on July 26 display that New York only has 6,000 approved medical marijuana patients. There are only 639 registered doctors statewide. Patients only have access to 5 types of marijuana oils; no flower or other medical marijuana products are available.

Etain COO Hillary Peckham said, “We’re still having a lot of challenges, and there’s still a huge amount of cost associated with just one operating – it’s still a slower growth than we’d like to see overall. The really positive part is this is now being open for seven, eight months, we’ve been able to see recurring patients and the benefits they are having.”

Many prospective medical marijuana patients have complained about the inability to gain approval to use medical marijuana. Some blame Governor Cuomo for insisting on such a restrictive program to be in place.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried said, “Unfortunately the program has gotten off to a very slow start, and I think that is because the governor insisted on the law being very restrictive.”