New York State Picks 5 to Grow, Dispense Medical Marijuana

ALBANY (AP) -

The five companies announced Friday that were picked to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New York will each operate one cultivation facility and four dispensaries.

Grow centers are planned for Queens, Orange, Monroe, Fulton and Warren counties. Four dispensaries are planned for New York City, with four more slated for the suburbs and the remaining 12 scattered throughout upstate New York.

The first medical cannabis is expected to be available to patients with qualifying conditions in January.

“We are ready to go,” said Hillary Peckham, co-owner of Etain LLC, one of the vendors chosen. She created the business after her grandmother died from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her doctor recommended marijuana but she didn’t want to break the law.

“We saw what it was like to watch someone suffer.” Peckham said.

Under a state law passed more than a year ago, the medicine will be required to be in the form of a tincture, oil or other non-smokeable form that can be ingested or vaporized. Qualifying conditions include cancer, Parkinson’s, ALS and epilepsy.

“While this is an important milestone, the reality is that no patients are going to see medicine until at least January 2016,” said Julie Netherland, deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “New York’s law is among the most restrictive in the country.”