HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)- Like many Western New Yorkers who rely on medical marijuana, Wendy Hart hasn’t had an easy time getting it.
There’s now almost 10,000 patients registered for the program, and 739 doctors.
While the program is expanding, many patients feel their access is not. In June, the Department of Health approved a new medical marijuana capsule to be sold at Columbia Care, one of the state’s five registered companies.
Columbia Care’s closest location to Hart is in Rochester.
“It’s very frustrating,” Hart told News 4.
The Hamburg native underwent chemotherapy five years ago for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but it’s pain from Fibromyalgia that’s been most debilitating.
“I just went downhill. I got more pain, more neurological problems, incredible, extreme fatigue.
In February, she was accepted into the medical marijuana program.
After trial and error, she found a product that works for her, a vaporizer. The specific concentration she needs though, just like the new capsule, is only available in Rochester.
“It took about four or five hours all total. Driving there, finding the facility, waiting. They had quite a few patients in the waiting room.”
Hart doesn’t see an end in sight. Partly because of how hard it is to get information from dispensaries in the first place.
“Right now there is no central avenue to get that information to compare products. You can call the dispensary, they may tell you over the phone if you are a registered patient there or have a medical marijuana card, but just to call and say hey what’s in your product, they won’t tell you.”
She keeps records of all of her doses, and takes note when she has an adverse side effect. Her doctor, she told News 4, is very helpful, but physicians also rely on the Department of Health for the green light on new products.
“We’re kind of left in the dark, having to stumble around and figure it out on our own and from other people who have been through it before me,” Hart said.