Dr. Howard Zucker, the NYS Health Commissioner was in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday to celebrate National Public Health Week. The annual Public Health Week celebration recognizes the contributions of public health and highlights issues that are important to improving our nation. While Dr. Zucker's Poughkeepsie presentation focused on eating healthier, the Hudson Valley Post couldn't refrain from asking about the medical marijuana program in NY.

According to Dr. Zucker, the NYS Medical Marijuana program is "growing responsibly" including the recent addition of chronic pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Chronic pain joins cancer, HIV infections or AIDS, ALS, Parkinson's disease, MS, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, IBS, neuropathies, and Huntington's disease as conditions that are eligible to be treated by marijuana in New York.

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

As of the end of March of 2017, 927 practitioners have registered for the NYS Medical Marijuana Program and 15,523 patients have been certified by their practitioners.

Additional information on the NYS Medical Marijuana Program can be found at www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/