- NuggMD, a California medical marijuana telemedicine portal that connects physicians to 40,000 patients, is expanding cross-country to increase patient access to the portal.
On April 18th, the company extends their services to New York State, where physicians can utilize the telemedicine platform to provide medical cannabis access to patients statewide.
While the state of New York approved medical marijuana use in 2014, and passed the New York Telehealth Amendment Act in 2015, there is extremely limited telemedicine and medical marijuana access currently in New York.
California has been a leader in promoting the use of medicinal cannabis as legalization for medical purposes took place in 1996. Since then, companies like SpeedWeed and Eaze helped to establish in-state systems that allow patients to receive a prescription via telemedicine visits.
Other states have not been as open to the idea of allowing physicians to prescribe medicinal marijuana through technologies that are similar to the NuggMD platform.
Florida, following the lead from other states like Oregon, Illinois, and Washington, amended its telemedicine regulations to prohibit provider use of telemedicine in medical cannabis prescribing.
Even Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational cannabis use, set regulations on telemedicine prescribing for medical marijuana.
New York is one of the five states that allows any telemedicine visit to qualify as a legally valid patient-provider engagement, and allows specific providers to prescribe cannabis-based medicine through telemedicine.
Out of the 110,000 care providers in the state, only 884 are qualified under the NYS Medical Marijuana program.
NuggMD hopes that their new technology can help reduce the barriers to patient access for medical cannabis treatments while supporting current NY state policies.
“Although New York approved medical marijuana in 2014, barely 14,000 people legally have access to it because of restrictions on the visibility and number of doctors,” said Collin Mann, CEO at NuggMD.
“This is a trend we've seen across the board in states with new marijuana laws on the books. Access should be feasible, but it's not, and we're going to change that; our network of cannabis-expert doctors will accelerate that change better than anyone else.”
Under New York law, ailments that qualify for medicinal cannabis treatment include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Recently, the New York Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, added chronic pain to the list.
The company believes that their telemedicine platform can help deliver cannabis treatment to rural communities that are hundreds of miles away, and to patients with qualifying conditions.
The state health department has not been open to releasing the names of medicinal marijuana-qualified providers/prescribers, which led NuggMD to believe they can deliver this medicine to patient populations in need.
“It's frustrating that we can't find a practitioner, especially while knowing that children in different states have full access to this medicine,” stated Dr. Amy Piperato, a New York-based provider. “This is why NuggMD has come to change the situation by extending its services to New York State.”