Last week, the state Department of Health (DOH) announced that it is accepting applications from businesses that want to become “registered organizations” to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana under the Compassionate Care Act. The program application is here.

Under the program, state-certified doctors will be able to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with cancer, epilepsy and other serious diseases and conditions. The state will award five contracts to private marijuana growers, who will each be permitted to open up to four dispensaries to distribute the drug to certified patients across the state. The law will allow the drug only in non-smokeable forms, such as pills, oils and vapors.

Program applicants must provide detailed plans about their operations and must pay a $10,000 non-refundable application fee in addition to a $200,000 registration fee.  The state expects to register the companies selected by July. The $200,000 registration fee will be refunded to entities that are not issued a registration.

Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said:

“This represents an important step in implementing the medical marijuana program in New York State.  We have laid out an ambitious timeline in getting the program up and running and we are meeting our goals. Once the applications are in, we can begin our review and move to the next step of selecting the registered organizations this summer.”