This story is part of an ongoing series that enhances the voice of medical marijuana patients in NY. Get NYCI Newsletter here Or Subscribe For special content.
Chris, a 27-year-old from New York City who has been a medical marijuana sufferer for nearly a year and a half, said he was fortunate not to have too many difficulties accessing his medication.
That doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen it enough.
Chris is the moderator for the NewYorkMMJ Subreddit – an online forum for people to share news, experiences and ideas about the state’s medical marijuana program. He has read every post of medical marijuana patients across the state of New York, complaining about their access to prescription marijuana or lack thereof.
Patients and advocates allege that New York State is letting its medical marijuana program dry, but the agency that manages the cannabis industry – the Office of Cannabis Management – is directing its attention to establishing the entertainment market. NY Cannabis Insider has previously reported on patient complaints and the biggest problems facing medical marijuana in the state.
Asked by the NY Cannabis Insider not to use his last name, Chris said, “The first problem we see is price” – meaning that marijuana products in New York are significantly higher than other states.
“When mine costs $ 25, you pay $ 85 for a vape,” he said. “I think it benefits the people who depend on it (medical marijuana).”
Regardless of cost, Chris said product selection is limited, and he has seen pharmacies offer eight to 12 breeds of flowers.
“If you don’t have more than 12 strains at any one time, it’s hard to figure out what works for a patient,” he said.
If they say they are lucky enough to make a comfortable salary, they will see many of the issues discussed in the subreddit by people with low disposable income.
“A lot of our complaints are from people on a fixed income or physically unable to travel very far,” he said.
Chris said the distance is more of a problem for Upstate patients. But even in New York City, he can see how there might be problems with admission – he uses a couple of dispensaries that offer reasonable prices, but anyone who doesn’t know where to look, or can’t go too far, may end up paying pretty steep prices.
“The only pharmacies that offer reasonable prices are the rise in Midtown and Curaleaf in Forest Hills,” he said.
Chris said the prices he saw at the dispensary in Brooklyn were “insane.”
“Getting something for $ 80 or $ 90 goes to $ 110,” he said.
He described some complaints about bureaucratic delays and problems in the office of marijuana management – one, the rules for home farming have not yet been implemented. On the other hand, patients have been complaining for months about not being able to renew their medical marijuana licenses, which they must do every year in New York.
“For two months, people haven’t been able to register for the card,” he said. “People were given interim registration cards, which some pharmacies cannot even accept.”
Moderating the New YorkMMJ Subreddit Chris said he fell “accidentally” after becoming a medical marijuana patient to treat Sciatica.
But he said his time at Subreddit has allowed him to help a lot of users – and learn what’s happening to patients who are frustrated by the medical marijuana situation in New York.
“A lot of patients on the subreddit say they are going back to the gray market or the black market,” he said.