Medical Marijuana Program a 'hot topic' for health officials

OLEAN — New York state’s Medical Marijuana Program started quietly on Jan. 7.

It’s not clear whether any Cattaraugus County physicians have yet registered with the program, or whether any county residents have been certified elsewhere to participate in the medical marijuana program.

“It’s a hot topic,” said Dr. Kevin Watkins, Cattaraugus County public health director.

Regulated by the state Department of Health, “medical marijuana is another weapon in the arsenal for pain relief,” Watkins said. “We are just going to continue to monitor it.”

New York, he said, “is the 23rd state in the country to allow medical marijuana for patients seeking some sort of pain relief. It is being done in a very conservative way.”

New York currently permits medical marijuana to be prescribed for patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord nervous tissue damage, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and...

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