Inside look offered at local medical marijuana facility

June 21, 2017 06:21 PM

PERTH – State lawmakers approved a bill that allows patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to qualify for medical marijuana. Now the bill awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature. If he approves, some of that medical marijuana to treat PTSD patients could come from right here in the Capital Region.

It may not be what you would think a medical marijuana growing facility would look like. A non-descript building at the Tryon Technology Park in Perth. But this is home to one of five licensed medical marijuana growers in the state: Vireo Health. “Fulton County and its IDA have been true partners to us,” said Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health of NY, LLC. “We couldn’t do what we’re doing without their support.”

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The marijuana plants inside the facility, which are grown and then turned into pills, vapors, or oils, not joints, help provide relief to New Yorkers with a number of ailments, including chronic pain. Vireo hopes medical marijuana will eventually replace opiods as a treatment for those patients.

Another eligible ailment could soon potentially be PTSD after lawmakers approved a bill adding it. “I think that’s a huge win for patients,” said Hoffnung. “New York has a tremendous amount of vets and others who suffer from PTSD. So to be able to give those patients access to medical marijuana is something that we strongly support.”

But despite medical marijuana now being in its second year of operation in New York State, Vireo says there is a lot of work still to be done informing physicians and the public. “There’s a lot more to do in terms of education and awareness to help combat the stigma still surrounding medical marijuana, even in 2017,” said Hoffnung. “And there's a lot more to do in terms of getting more buy in from the healthcare community, from physicians.”


Ben Amey

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