HOW TO CHOOSE A MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY
After you have been certified by an approved New York State medical provider to purchase medical marijuana, the question becomes, where do I go to buy the product? Within New York State, 10 organizations are approved by the state to sell and dispense medical marijuana products. As of November 2020, these 10 organizations are the following:
- Citiva Medical LLC: Doing Business As: Be.
- Columbia Care NY LLC
- Curaleaf NY, LLC
- Etain, LLC
- Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Doing Business As : FP Wellness or Rise
- MedMen, Inc.
- NYCANNA, LLC Doing Business As: The Botanist or Acreage NY
- PharmaCann of New York, LLC Doing Business As: Verilife
- Valley Argiceuticals, LLC Doing Business As: Remedy-NY or Sunnyside
- Vireo Health of New York LLC
These organizations have several locations scattered throughout New York and have varying medical marijuana products to purchase. Each organization also sets its prices differently than others.
Where can I go to buy medical marijuana?
You are free to go to any medical marijuana dispensary within New York of your choosing. Even though there are 10 different organizations in the state, each company is allowed a specific number of stores. These stores are typically located in highly populated areas or areas that see a lot of traffic daily. For example, Orange County has only two medical marijuana dispensaries located in Newburgh and Wallkill. From there, the nearest medical marijuana dispensary is Etain’s in Kingston.
What’s the difference between each dispensary?
Like any other line of business, each dispensary must come up with competitive prices and tactics to bring in more clients to generate revenue. That being said, each dispensary will not sell identical products. Still, one brand must have an equal ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD) and one with a low-THC-high-CBD ratio. After they comply with this regulation, each dispensary may offer other products that can contain different ratios of THC to CBD.
The dispensary in question must also reveal their pricing model to New York State for their review. The cost to manufacture, market, and distribute products are all taken into account by the state. The New York State Department of Health Commissioner then approves the dispensary to sell a medical marijuana product at no more than a mutually agreed amount.
Each dispensary may only dispense up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana to you or a designated caregiver unless noted otherwise on your certification. The dispensary must keep track of how much marijuana they dispense to you. This information is held on the New York State Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), so providers can review these and any other controlled substance histories to make conscience treatment plans. So, each dispensary may provide different products, but they must comply with whatever is noted on your certification.
What products can I buy at a dispensary?
Among every dispensary comes a common theme of having medical marijuana come in the following forms:
Capsules are your usual pills you may take with or without liquid. It may seem odd to take marijuana through a capsule, but these time-released pills may stick around in your body longer than inhaled marijuana. According to an article published by the Higher Path, “in general, you can expect cannabis capsules’ average onset time- they time until the cannabis takes full effect-to be around 90 minutes”. They also explained that “the average duration is from 5 - 12 hours”. Don’t be scared; you most likely will not feel the complete psychedelic nature of marijuana even if it does exist in your body for 5 - 12 hours.
A flower is the most common form of medical marijuana. Some may call it a bud or a nug. Once the flower is harvested and tested by the state, it can be smoked, turned into a concentrate, or in an edible format. There are different brands and styles of the flower depending on where and how it is grown and harvested.
Lotions, or sometimes called topicals, are defined by Leafly as “cannabis-infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absurd through the skin for localized relief of pain, soreness, and inflammation”. Cream applied directly to the area that hurts or is discomforting usually makes patients feel therapeutic, but they rarely reach euphoria. This is due to most topicals being unable to reach the bloodstream rather it only penetrates the base layer of the skin.
Lozenges are a form of medical marijuana edibles but are very similar to hard candies. They must be taken as a whole form, so they cannot be broken up to have a smaller dose. A popular marijuana lozenge brand MUV explained that the onset can occur “at least 30-60 minutes, and it can be longer. Patients need to be aware of this lag so they can avoid the common mistake of taking more in the belief that they didn’t take enough”. Usually, edibles do take a lot longer to take effect in your body. Still, they tend to stick around longer than inhaling other products.
Herb Co makes the case that “powdered marijuana uses the same technology that powered sports drink mixes and powdered alcohol use to come continently packaged for long-term storage. Mixing the powder into the drink of your choice is a common benefit to this method. This is a relatively new method of taking medical marijuana, so substantial research is not there yet. This is also another method to use if you feel uncomfortable with smoking or inhaling medical marijuana.
Spray and tincture are defined by Medical News Today involving “a tincture of CBD extract and ethanol alcohol. The alcohol helps extract the cannabinoids. An oral spray deposes directly into the mouth, either under the tongue or inside the cheek”. If you have ever used an antiseptic spray to clear a cough or sore throat, this method is very similar. It is also very easy to use in small dosages so you can become more comfortable with using medical marijuana.
The vaporizer has slowly become the bread and butter of the medical marijuana good world. Some dispensaries even have branded their vaporizer with their logo. These are devices that heat cannabis up so the vapors can be inhaled. Anywhere between 350 degrees Fahrenheit and 390 degrees Fahrenheit, the vapor is created by the immense heat found in the vaporizer (sometimes called vape pens). There is a dried flower in a pod that the heat burns to generate the vapor.
Each of these goods is sold and packaged differently depending on the dispensary you visit. The prices range greatly as well depending on what the ratio of THC to CBD is listed on each product. That ratio is determined by New York State’s rigorous testing program.
How do I know my medical marijuana product is safe?
New York State randomly tests batches of medical marijuana products across all 10 dispensaries. They test for any contaminants and product consistency. Each medical marijuana-related product will also have its THC to CBD ratio posted on the product for consumer awareness. If you are interested in reading more about medical marijuana product testing in New York, follow the below steps from the state:
A list of laboratories approved for medical marijuana testing in New York and their contact information can be found by:
- Accessing the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory Medical Marijuana Program webpage at https://www.wadsworth.org/regulatory/elap/medical-marijuana.
- Click on “Search NY Accredited Environmental Labs” on the right of the page.
- Click “I’m not a robot” and select required images.
- In the Advanced Search section choose the category Medical Marihuana and then click view results
I cannot go and get my medical marijuana product one day, now what?
While you are registering with the state, you may designate up to two (2) caregivers who may obtain medical marijuana on your behalf. These are trusted individuals who also must register with New York to purchase and obtain medical marijuana for you. If your dispensary also does delivery, they can take the delivery for you as well.
With the recent legislation from New York about these dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana, everything will change across the board. Cross Valley Health & Medicine will keep you updated on these occurrences. If you also are interested in learning more about our medical marijuana certification program, please visit our website at www.crossvalleyhealth.com
Cross Valley Health & Medicine is a primary care practice located in Newburgh, NY, allowing for both virtual and in-person appointments. The practice has two medical providers on staff, a medical doctor who is dual board-certified in Addiction Medicine and Internal Medicine and a family nurse practitioner. Both providers are eager to see new patients for the following programs: Addiction Medicine, Behavioral Health Management, HIV/AIDS Care Management, Internal Medicine, Medical Marijuana Certifications, Medication-Assisted Treatment, STDI/STI Care Management, and Weight Loss Management. If you are interested in becoming a patient of Cross Valley, please click here to access our online paperwork portal.