Curaleaf New York is on track to open a medical-marijuana dispensary in the Town of Newburgh this month. The dispensary, to be located off I-84 on North Plank Road next to Alexis Diner, is the first medical- marijuana dispensary to open in Orange County.
“Patients in Newburgh and Orange County deserve access to high-quality, medical-grade marijuana,” stated Michelle Bodner, president and CEO of Curaleaf’s parent company PalliaTech NY, which operates facilities across the Northeast.
The dispensary will sell marijuana products in the form of tinctures, oils, tablets, capsules, vaporizers and sublingual strips that dissolve under the tongue. “Some of these forms are easier for our patients to ingest than others,” said Bodner. “They are palliative, they provide relief.”
Medical conditions that qualify patients to use medical-marijuana in New York include cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease/ALS, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, neuropathies such as spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. The New York State Department of Health added Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the state’s list of qualifying conditions in November.
“The process starts with going to a practitioner who is licensed in the state to write a recommendation for the patient,” Bodner explained. Patients then register online with the DOH to obtain a medical-marijuana card. “Once they get their card, they come and visit us,” she said, and patients will be seen by a licensed pharmacist.
Bodner was asked whether Curaleaf products are covered by most insurance carriers. “Often the doctor’s appointment will be covered by insurance and the medicine is not,” she said. Because of this, the company administers a “compassionate care program,” offering discounts to people on public assistance and in financial need. “We’re committed to making our medicine affordable for everyone who needs it,” Bodner said.
Marijuana – also known by its Latin name cannabis – has been used to treat chronic pain, nausea and other conditions for centuries. According to the National Institutes of Health, the plant has been used for medical purposes since the Bronze Age. “Cannabis is a plant-based, or botanical, product with origins tracing back to the Ancient World. Evidence suggesting its use more than 5,000 years ago in what is now Romania has been described extensively,” reads the NIH website.
In July, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Compassionate Care Act, which legalized and regulated manufacturing and sales of medical marijuana across the state.
New York State has the strictest medical marijuana regulations in the country, Bodner said. “The Department of Health highly regulates the types of products we can sell,” she said. “We’re only allowed to use pharmaceutical-grade excipients in our manufactured products,” she said. “We’re not allowed to sell dried flowers, what people think of when they think of marijuana.”
The facility will have round-the-clock video surveillance and products will be stored in a bank vault after closing time, she said. “Basically, we’re a wellness center that operates like a pharmacy,” she said.
Curaleaf will join Etain, in the Town of Ulster, as one of two dispensaries currently operating in the Hudson Valley. PharmaCann, LLC, operates a growing facility in Campbell Hall, with dispensaries around the state, including Albany and the Bronx. Curaleaf will also be opening dispensaries in Queens and Long Island.
According to the DOH, New York Canna, doing business as Terridiol, is also expected to open a dispensary in Orange County. The agency did not provide an opening date or a specific location for the facility. To learn more about Curaleaf, visit Ny.curaleaf.com or call 1-833-470-5323.
By SHANTAL RILEY