medical marijuana

Canada is about to make recreational marijuana legal. What does that mean for people who go to Canada and come back to the U.S.? What does it mean for workers who come to the U.S. in the medical marijuana industry?

We discuss what you need to know for the next time you cross the border. Our guests:

New York looks to expand access to medical marijuana

Jun 18, 2018

The New York State Health Department plans to make medical marijuana available to more New Yorkers.  Opioid use will be the newest addition to the list of qualifying conditions under the state’s medical marijuana program.

The health department characterized the decision as a step toward curbing the opioid epidemic, saying that medical marijuana treats the pain that opioids are meant to address while also reducing the chance of addiction and eliminating the risk of a fatal overdose.

Frank De Blase is a well known music writer and photographer, and he's using his pen to tell the story of his own struggle with Parkinson's.

Frank writes about the new medical marijuana system: where does someone go to get it? What's the process like? It's an illuminating look at this young enterprise in New York State. Our guests:

  • Frank De Blase, music writer, photographer, and Parkinson’s disease patient
  • Dr. Michelle Burack, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology, and clinical director for surgical therapies for the Movement Disorder Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Robert Horowitz, M.D., chief and professor of palliative care in the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center

Patients in Oregon embrace medical cannabis as opioid alternative — without guidance

Apr 14, 2018
Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Dawn Faihtinger is in her 60s and lives in an RV at a park on the Oregon coast.

She’s been battling pain for nearly 50 years, ever since she was hit by a car as a teenager.

“I was in a coma for seven weeks,” she said. “I had a compound fracture of my right leg. Had my skull split open.”

Faihtinger later learned she had multiple sclerosis. She spent 15 years in a wheelchair and on heavy doses of opioids, including Oxycodone and fentanyl.

The newest Gallup poll shows 60% of Americans support full legalization of marijuana. With several states legalizing marijuana, this seems to be a moment of change in the country, right? Well, perhaps not with Jeff Sessions serving as the Attorney General. Sessions recently said that marijuana was almost as bad as heroin, which surprised some experts who work in the field of opioid addiction. Sessions has said that good people don't smoke marijuana.

So what's next for weed? Our guests discuss it:

The nearest medical marijuana dispensary -- Columbia Care in Eastman Business Park -- will open January 28, 2016. However, many questions remain regarding the substance's use in New York State. Who are the doctors who will be licensed to prescribe it? What will it cost? Will insurance companies cover it? 

Our panel tries to sort it all out. Our guests:


First hour: Meet the only person in New York State to challenge the fracking ban in court

Second hour: Are we prepared for medical marijuana?

It's not just the doctors who have to train for medical marijuana, says Dr. Karl Williams, associate dean of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.

"The reason we're doing this is to provide a community benefit. Pharmacy is a patient-centered profession these days. This is about being able to care for patients adequately."

ALBANY (AP) People with AIDS and parents of children with severe epilepsy are pressuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation giving critically ill patients early access to medical marijuana before New York's new medical cannabis program begins.

Advocates for sped-up access say they'll rally outside Cuomo's Manhattan office Tuesday, the day before Cuomo's deadline to sign or veto the bill.

Lawmakers passed the measure earlier this year after some patients and their families said that critically ill individuals shouldn't have to wait any longer for the drug.


New York state will require physicians to complete an educational course before they can authorize medical marijuana for patients--a condition generally not applied to new drugs or seen in other states with existing medical pot programs.  

The 4.5 hour online training course will cost doctors $250.  

Officials say training will help physicians understand the drug when the state's medical marijuana program begins in January. But some patient advocates say the inconvenience could discourage physicians from participating, ultimately limiting patient access.