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New York’s High Medical Marijuana Prices Are Pushing Patients to the Black Market

New York State passed medical marijuana legislation in 2014, with patients able to purchase their medicine at licensed dispensaries since 2016. This year, the program expanded further, with broadly defined ailments like chronic pain added to the state’s list of qualifying conditions. But even with the expanded qualifiers opening the system to millions of New Yorkers, high priced product and a lack of smokeable marijuana for sale has resulted in state-approved patients seeking their weed from black market dealers instead of dispensaries.

According to Staten Island Live, patients in the Empire State can purchase CBD-rich oils, capsules and vaporizers from five licensed producers and eight approved dispensaries. Without additional competition, prices are double and triple what they might be in a recreational-legal state.

“There are vape pens you can get for $30 or $40 in a state like Colorado that you can get for $100 here for an inferior product.” Empire State NORML representative Doug Greene said. “Most people seem to think they’re better off staying in the unlicensed market and getting a cheaper product that way than getting it in the program, and that’s unfortunate.”

And in New York City, at least, they might be right. A number of the city’s health food stores and bodegas already offer products infused with industrial hemp-derived CBD and the city’s vast network of underground, but not hard to find cannabis delivery services offer products you might see in California or Colorado like vape cartridges and edibles, at a price lower than the New York MMJ providers. [Read more at Merry Jane]

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