JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — Almost 18 months after the passing of the Compassionate Care Act, Southern Tier’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened in Johnson City.

“We’re selling pharmaceutical grade cannabis — not dispensed by poorly-trained bud tenders, but by licensed New York State pharmacists,” Vireo Health of NY CEO Ari Hoffnung said.

Patients who come to the facility will be able to access medical marijuana in the form of capsules, oils and even vapor air. This medicine undergoes rigorous third-party testing and is very different from what many may think of as typical pot.

“The biggest difference from a physician’s standpoint is the precision of the dosage,” says Dr. Stephen Dahmer, “knowing what a patient is being treated with.”

The dispensary on Harry L Drive in Johnson City is one of 20 that will open across the state in the coming months. Broome County’s executive says she wants to get county physicians up to speed so that more patients have access to medical marijuana.

“What I’d like to do is hold a forum, maybe, for physicians, so that they can ask more questions about this,” Debbie Preston urged.

The Department of Health is forbidden to disclose how many Broome physicians are licensed to prescribe the medication. A medical professional needs to complete a 4-hour course to get certified. Patients require prescriptions to access medical marijuana, and after applying online, they would receive proper ID cards to purchase the cash-only drug.

The Vireo facility is also unique in that it’s just one of five across the state licensed to sell and cultivate medical marijuana.

Watch the full story here.

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