Letter: Legislators should expand access to medical cannabis – Times Union

Marijuana plants are pictured at the Baker’s marijuana nursery at Baker Medical Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

I echo the sentiments expressed in the commentary, “Medical cannabis could help treat mental health conditions,” June 10, which resonated deeply with me as a New York medical cannabis patient.

Medical cannabis played an integral role in helping me heal from my father’s unexpected death. I don’t know what I would have done without that help. I firmly believe more people like me could benefit from the medical cannabis program — one of the most restrictive of its kind in the nation — if it becomes easier to access.

Medical cannabis providers have asked the state to expand the program so more New Yorkers can participate. The state should let qualified practitioners more discretion in determining whether patients can benefit from these products instead of being restricted to a limited existing conditions list.

This change is actually in keeping with the state’s own recommendation and will empower practitioners to individually evaluate patients based on their current condition, their past treatments and the risk vs. benefit medical cannabis would provide them.

I ask that the state let patients like me and the people responsible for our care to make decisions together about how to best meet our treatment needs.

As we continue to face increased uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus, I hope officials consider this simple regulatory change that will expand the medical cannabis program and provide millions more New Yorkers access to safe medical treatments.

Chelle Winne