2018-08-22 / Features

Medical Marijuana Discussed At Queens Library

BY THOMAS COGAN

The Queens Chamber of Commerce has recently been sponsoring informational addresses to the public about medical cannabis, popularly known as medical marijuana. Information about the statewide program, enacted in 2014, was provided at the Glen Oaks branch of the Queens Library on Union Turnpike.

Two speakers at the August 15 event, Lanett Austin and Stephanie Izquieta, from a company called Curaleaf, which operates from New England to Florida, and in New York under state sanction, described the palliative, or discomfort-reducing, effects of marijuana.

Some of those in attendance at the library were hopeful, some skeptical about the putative medical benefits of a plant that long ago acquired the stigma of illegality. For their part, the speakers at the library went over the boundaries of the New York plan, which bans any program of recreational use. In fact, inhalation of cannabis for medicinal purposes is allowed in New York only through vaporizers.

The New York State Legislature passed a medical marijuana law in 2014 and the first dispensary was opened in January 2015. It is indicative of the restraint exercised by the state that only two other Curaleaf dispensaries have been opened since then, though there will soon be another, bringing the total to four. The three current ones are located in Newburgh, Plattsburgh, and Forest Hills, at 107-18 70th Rd. The fourth one is due to open in Carle Place, in Nassau County on Long Island, near Mineola and Westbury.

New York requires that each of the dispensaries have a licensed pharmacist on the premises. Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted the state’s dispensaries to operate along firm medical lines, so in addition to pharmacists at hand, certified practitioners who are medical doctors or associates and located all over the state, are on file. At the library meeting, a list of 40 Queens-based Medical Marijuana Certified Practitioners, which included their addresses and telephone numbers, was handed out.

Curaleaf’s literature includes a booklet that explains the medical properties and effects of cannabis. It begins by saying that, “Medical science and history show that cannabis is an effective palliative, a class of medicines that ease human suffering.”

It is widely accepted that cannabis is effective in treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease (HD chorea), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injury with spasticity.

There are warnings in the booklet about side effects from medical cannabis such as one might find in in a two-page pharmaceutical advertisement. Physically, there is a risk of heart attack, particularly among the elderly, as a result of increased heart rate. Possible dizziness, drowsiness and impaired judgment should put driving and operating machinery off-limits when using. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should act only under the advice of the certifying practitioners and pediatricians. Mentally, an altered sense of both time and other matters is possible, along with mood changes that can include anxiety and paranoia, in the short and long terms. For women, there could be complications in child development during pregnancy and afterward.

Inquirers wanting to know if medical cannabis could be a palliative for a particular ailment can look at ny.curaleaf.com and call 833-470-5323 to get started by consulting practitioners, obtaining certification and registering with the New York State Department of Health.

For the full story, visit QGazette.com.

The New York State Legislature passed a medical marijuana law in 2014 and the first dispensary was opened in January 2015. It is indicative of the restraint exercised by the state that only two other Curaleaf dispensaries have been opened since then, though there will soon be another, bringing the total to four. The three current ones are located in Newburgh, Plattsburgh, and Forest Hills, at 107-18 70th Rd. The fourth one is due to open in Carle Place, in Nassau County on Long Island, near Mineola and Westbury.

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