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NY Adds Chronic Pain As Condition For Medical Marijuana

The New York State Department of Health has added chronic pain as a valid condition for being prescribed medical marijuana. Medicinal use of marijuana was approved in three states following the November election.

On Dec. 1, New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker announced in a press release that the NYSDOH would create a regulatory amendment to approve chronic pain as a qualification for medical marijuana.

"After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain," Zucker said. "Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program." 

New York currently has 10 conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment, including cancer, HIV and Parkinson's disease.

On Nov. 8, voters in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota approved of medical marijuana for their states. Meanwhile, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in California, Massachusetts and Nevada, according to The Washington Post.

On Dec. 5, Maine began a recount of its own recreational marijuana legalization initiative. The referendum had passed by such a slim margin -- less than 1 percent -- that opponents of the initiative requested and were granted a recount of the results, the Portland Press Herald reports.

While the November election proved to be the largest victory for marijuana advocates on record, the success may be short-lived.

President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization. If appointed to the head of the Justice Department, Sessions could could use federal law to prosecute marijuana retailers and users, according to Politico.

Sessions has not signaled how he would approach marijuana enforcement if he is confirmed as attorney general, but his previous statements have indicated he would roll back state legalization.

"Good people don't smoke marijuana," Sessions said in April. The Alabama senator added that marijuana is "not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized."

Sources: NYSDOH, PoliticoPortland Press HeraldThe Washington Post / Photo credit: Dank Depot/Flickr

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