In an effort to expand medical marijuana patient access and treatment options, the New York Department of Health has officially approved a host of new regulations for the state’s fledgling cannabis marketplace.

According to the New York Daily News, New Yorkers with a doctor’s recommendation will soon be able to purchase infused topical creams and ointments, patches, lozenges, chewable tablets and a host of other, non-smokeable cannabis products. Patients are currently restricted to oral capsules and vaporizable liquids. All forms of smokable bud will still be banned from the legal market.

In addition to the new products being made available, the new regulations will hope to make it easier for new patients to join the so-far restrictive system. Instead of banning anyone without a doctor’s recommendation from entering state-certified MMJ facilities, new rules will allow any prospective client to go on-site, ask questions, discuss the program with actual experts and see for themselves what legal weed looks like.

"This is yet another positive step forward for New York State's Medical Marijuana Program,"  State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. "These regulations will continue to improve the program in several ways, including making new forms of medical marijuana available and improving the dispensing facility experience."

Doctors looking to add cannabis referrals to their repertoire are also in luck, with a new two hour training video to replace the longer four hour version that is required viewing for docs looking to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. With only 26,561 patients registered across the state and 1,155 doctors with the ability to give referrals, the NY Health Department is hopeful that the more lenient regulations will influence more residents to seek access.

The move comes close on the heels of an announcement last week that the state’s medical marijuana program would be licensing five new cannabis producers, effectively doubling New York’s production capabilities. Additional changes this year have added chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder as qualifying conditions to access the program.

The PTSD regulation is still awaiting Gubernatorial approval, but New York legislators and health officials have shown a continued dedication to medical marijuana that is encouraging as we continue to look ahead towards recreational legalization nationwide.

New York’s latest set of medical marijuana regulations are expected to go into effect sometime next month.