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How One Doctor Is Coping With New York’s Muddled Medical Marijuana Restrictions

Cannabis consultations have become a new source of revenue this year for Dr. Dara Huang, who also treats kidney problems and practices “culinary medicine” from her office in Manhattan. But it takes a lot of legwork to deal with the challenges of participating in the state’s medical-marijuana program, both for her and her patients.

“I’ve created this whole pathway so someone can come see me and go from A to Z without a hitch,” said Huang, speaking to Crain’s at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition in Manhattan last week. “Patients already are at the end of their rope by the time they come to me.”

Huang is among the first group of 600 doctors who have registered to recommend cannabis in New York so far (federal law forbids doctors from “prescribing” cannabis, so they use what are referred to as recommendations). With a little extra effort, she’s been able to find a way around some of the common problems physicians and patients face.

Huang makes frequent calls and visits to dispensaries to find out which cannabis formats are available at each location so her patients don’t show up with recommendations for products that aren’t currently being offered. She also reaches out to hospital physicians directly to let them know they can refer patients to her. The state’s registry of cannabis-friendly doctors is only accessible to other physicians, and Huang found that her own contact information in the database is incorrect.

“You have to put a lot of work into this,” Huang said. “It’s taken me months to make this work.” [Read more at Crain’s New York Business]

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