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With just weeks until New York State’s medical marijuana program is set to take effect, Time Warner Cable News sent a crew to Minnesota – a state with a fledgling medical marijuana program similar to New York’s.

Five companies were selected by the New York State Department of Health to produce medical cannabis and distribute it across the state. One of those companies was also chosen to produce by the Department of Health in Minnesota.

Kyle KingsleyThat company – Vireo Health Company – will start selling medical cannabis in New York under the company Vireo Health of New York (formerly Empire State Health Solutions). Our crew traveled to their company in Minnesota – Minnesota Medical Solutions – to compare that state’s program to New York’s.

The series debuted September 14th on Capital Tonight. You can watch on Local on Demand (Channel 1020) or by clicking below.



Lawmakers in New York passed legislation to enact the state’s medical marijuana program in 2014. 

The program remains one of the strictest in the nation.

The medical product will only be available in non-smokable, non-edible which can include oils, liquids, pills, and other authorized forms. It’s scheduled to be available in January, but only to patients suffering from extreme conditions like epilepsy or cancer.

Medical MarijuanaIn November of 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that would provide expedited medical marijuana access to patients suffering from extreme conditions. He made clear in his approval message that the Department of Health would have to act carefully to comply with the U.S. Department of Justice.

But months before that, in July 2015, the Department of Health awarded five companies licenses to produce medical cannabis. They will distribute medical cannabis through 20 dispensaries scattered across the state, with a scheduled start date in January.

  • Bloomfield Industries Inc.
    • Manufacturing: Queens County
    • Dispensing: Nassau, New York, Onondaga, and Erie Counties
  • Columbia Care NY LLC
    • Manufacturing: Monroe County
    • Dispensing: New York, Suffolk, Clinton, and Monroe Counties
  • Empire State Health Solutions
    • Manufacturing: Fulton County
    • Dispensing: Broome, Albany, Westchester, and Queens Counties
  • Etain, LLC
    • Manufacturing: Warren County
    • Dispensing: Albany, Ulster, Westchester, and Onondaga Counties
  • PharmaCann, LLC
    • Manufacturing: Orange County
    • Dispensing: Erie, Onondaga, Albany, and Bronx Counties
  • Lawrence Goodwin

    I thank you beyond measure, Nick Reisman, Liz Benjamin and Time Warner Cable News, for finally giving this subject the media attention it deserves–now and in the future. It’s too bad local media apparently forgot about the 1980 Antonio Olivieri medical cannabis law. Where would all of this be today in New York state if that program had been allowed to take off 35 years ago?

    In the Sept. 17 broadcast, Part 4, Mr. Reisman indicated that the Schedule I status of “marihuana” in our federal Controlled Substances Act (passed in 1970 by the U.S. Congress) makes many medical and business professionals leery of this “new” economic market, rooted in the health and vitality of New Yorkers. That Schedule I status is based on nothing but lies, starting with the legal term “marihuana” (Mexican Spanish slang for seedless, female flowers of cannabis plants). The federal government, and repressive states like New York, have been literally suppressing a huge cannabis economy by laws with that single foreign word, “marihuana” (idiotically spelled like Mexicanos had pronounced it). Indeed, there is nothing “new” about the cannabis economy. It did flourish for the first 100 years of United States history, including the production of cannabis flower extracts as medicine for widespread prescription by America’s doctors (1850-1940s). To this day, cannabis hemp is highly valued for the fibers and pulp from its stalks, and its female flowers loaded with very nutritious and useful seeds. Again, where would we be today if our politicians–from the dishonorably discharged President Richard Nixon to the reigning king of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo–did not insist on imposing upon us their Anti Marihuana Tyranny? Shall we ask the helicopter pilots and law enforcement teams that are, even as your series “The Growing Economy” airs, hunting down cannabis plants everywhere in New York to seize and destroy them?

  • Billy

    Legalize it! NYs medical marijuana laws are way too restrictive. We needed something like CA or CO have but we ended up with something that won’t be used much. Time to go straight to legalized recreational use. Why aren’t the Dems pusihg this? I’m sure they’d love to tax it like everything else.