Although a recreational cannabis legalization bill failed in New York earlier this year, the state’s medical marijuana program continues to grow and sees expanded operations from licensed multi-state operators. 

Curaleaf New York, the state-focused spin off from Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA; OTCQX: CURLF), just launched the very first medical cannabis flower products in New York today. 

While medical usage was signed into law back in 2014 and patients began buying medicine in 2016, directly smoking dried flower has remained banned as the sector focused on offering vapes, tinctures, and oils. 

Curaleaf New York is getting around the ban by offering ground flower pods utilized in the company’s new Tabletop Vaporizer. 

Those pods are now available for patients at the Long Island-based Carle Place dispensary, with the remaining dispensaries across the state due to begin selling flower pods in the coming weeks. 

Discussing this milestone in the state’s medical cannabis program, Curaleaf Chief Executive Officer Joseph Lusardi commented; 

Flower is cannabis in its raw form and the most affordable form of cannabis. We can increase patient access by providing affordable products and offering options for patients in the medical program. We’d like to thank the Department of Health for permitting us to sell vapable flower. We believe it’s an important step toward making natural products available in New York.

While ground flower in vapable pods will be legally sold through dispensaries, the New York Department of Health recently issued a statement urging medical cannabis users to stop utilizing vape products entirely. 

That statement arrived after seven deaths in the U.S. related to a lung disease believed to be caused by unlicensed vape products.  

Those news stories have led to a series of reactionary moves from various governments, with India outright banning vaping altogether and the Trump administration in the U.S. stating its intention to ban non-tobacco flavoured vape products in the near future. 

Since launching an investigation into lung disease reports, the NY Department of Health has found no negative health issues caused by THC vape products used in the state medical marijuana program at this time. 

In other Curaleaf news, the company has continued expanding in multiple states, recently opening a new dispensary in Arizona as well as releasing new cannabis tablet products to medical patients in Florida.  

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