In a letter sent to the U.S. Justice Department, New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker is requesting federal permission to import medical cannabis from other states so that children and adults with seizure disorders can get their medication sooner than the state will be able to develop its own system of administering the plant.

“This is an extremely important issue to us, and it will help many children and young adults,” says Zucker in the letter sent to Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, which was obtained by The Buffalo News. “As a pediatrician myself, I cannot urge you enough to consider this exception to the present law as we all only want the best for these young patients”.

In July, New York legalized the possession, use and state-licensed distribution of medical cannabis for those with certain debilitating condition such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and epilepsy. However, according to Zucker, the state won’t be in a position to have operating dispensaries until 2016.

In the letter, Zucker told the Justice Department that the state is actively seeking to identify one or more manufacturers now operating out of state to dispense the medicine to eligible children and young adults, and says the dispenser would have to meet a variety of New York and federal legal standards, and deemed to have “sufficient moral character”, to participate.

Emily Pierce, a spokeswoman for the New York Health Department, says the Justice Department is currently studying the request.


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