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New York To Allow Use Of Medical Marijuana Lozenges And Lotions

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York state is making more changes to its medical marijuana program.

Health officials announced new regulations Thursday that will permit new forms of the drug, including chewable and effervescent tablets and lozenges as well as topical lotions, ointments and patches.

"Anything that creates more patient access so that more New Yorkers who are suffering from life-threatening and debilitating diseases could benefit from the program is something that we welcome," said Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health of New York.

The state also plans to create a new, shorter training program for physicians interested in authorizing medical marijuana for patients.

Officials are also easing restrictions. Dispensaries will be allowed to advertise and perspective patients won't need written permission to enter a dispensary to inquire and learn more, according to the updated guidelines, WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported.

New York has one of the nation's more conservative medical cannabis programs, and smokeable marijuana still isn't allowed. But officials say they're continuing to look for ways to tinker with the rules to make it easier for patients to get the help they need.

The new regulations are expected to take effect next month.

In March, chronic pain was added to the list of approved illnesses like epilepsy and cancer. The governor is also considering adding PTSD.

The number of patients shot up 77 percent to more than 26,000.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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