Watch CBS News

Exclusive: CBS2 Goes Behind The Scenes At Queens Cannabis Dispensary As Medical Marijuana Use Increases During Pandemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Medical cannabis dispensaries -- deemed essential businesses -- are seeing an increase in patients and consumption during the pandemic.

Now cannabis companies are preparing for the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults in New Jersey, and the likelihood the same will happen in New York, CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reported Monday.

"When people think cannabis, the think of rolling a joint or something like that, but there are much more pharmaceutically-driven dosage forms that patients can use," said Dr. Stacia Woodcock, dispensary manager at Curaleaf Forest Hills.

Cannabis comes in many forms at Curaleaf's medical cannabis dispensary in Forest Hills, Queens. Dr. Woodcock gave Murdock a behind the scenes look.

"We have sublingual, we have mints and tincture. It's a liquid that gets placed under the tongue," Dr. Woodcock said.

MORE: Deal To Legalize Recreational Marijuana In New Jersey Falls Through

They take 30 minutes to kick in, but last two to four hours. Gummies take longer to register, but they last the longest.

"We see patients from nine to 99 that come into the dispensary and have qualifying conditions," said Dr. Woodcock.

The conditions are certified by a doctor, but the list varies by state. Cancer, HIV/AIDS, and terminal illnesses typically come to mind, but many more commonplace ailment make the cut.

"Chronic pain, migraines, menstrual cramps, arthritis," said Dr. Woodcock.

She said medicinal cannabis offers relief. More and more people are seeking it out.


Curaleaf surveyed 2,000 cannabis users 21 and older and found usage increased through the pandemic.

Forty-two percent started or increased consumption to reduce stress and anxiety, relax, and help with sleep.

Forty-five percent reduced or replaced alcohol use with cannabis.

"We're calling it the green wave of acceptance," said Curaleaf CEO Joe Bayern.

"We've been working with both New Jersey and New York from their legislative standpoint to help think about what a responsible program looks like," Bayern said.

Quality, consistency and testing in the cannabis marketplace are of the utmost importance. The company is increasing cultivation capacity and constructing two new dispensaries in the Garden State.

"When do you think your doors for adult usage will be open in the State of New Jersey," Murdock asked.

"We're anticipating it's going to be the second half of the year," Bayern said.

In the meantime, Bayern expects job growth and tax revenues to start rolling in.

When adult usage happens, Curaleaf expects a surge in demand. Both states could find themselves in a situation where demand is greater than supply.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.