Medical Marijuana Facility Preps For Opening In White Plains

Green walls, comfortable black chairs, and a receptionist desk make Vireo Health of New York’s (previously Empire State Health Solutions) brand new medical facility look like any other doctor’s office, but it will soon be one of the first medical marijuana facilities in Westchester.

Their opening on Thursday coincides with the launch of The New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) Medical Marijuana Program.

CEO Ari Hoffnung, Dr. Stephen Dahmer, and Dr. Laura Bultman walked us through their facility in White Plains and shared high hopes for medical marijuana and the future of the medication industry.

- Advertisement -

“Look at the benefits, the science, and the statistics,” says Hoffnung. “It has potential. Over time more and more patients will walk through our doors.”

According to the DOH’s website, before patients can walk through those doors and receive medical marijuana, they will need to have one of ten qualifying conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy or Lou Gehrig’s disease, receive a recommendation from their doctor and apply online through the DOH. They may also have to pay $50 for the application unless they are able to prove financial hardship.

While not just anyone can walk into the facility, not just any doctor can recommend medical cannabis. The DOH’s Medical Marijuana Patient Certification and Registration Program states registration requires a $200 fee and a four-hour online training course. 150 doctors are currently registered for the program.

Patients with their certification are greeted by pharmacists at the Vireo Health facility, escorted down a short hallway and taken into small cozy rooms for 30-minute consultations, where symptoms, treatments, and side effects are typically discussed. Patients are encouraged to ask questions and given access to a 1-800 number for adverse reactions.

Dr. Laura Bultman and Dr. Stephen Dahmer

- Partner Content -

Further down the hallway is a waiting room filled with the same children’s toys found in many pediatric offices. Dr. Dahmer anticipates children will account for 25 percent of New York’s medical marijuana patients based on similar figures from their medical marijuana program in Minnesota.

The final step for patients at the facility is receiving the medication. Vireo Health’s medical marijuana is difficult to differentiate from other medications because the packaging is nearly identical. The medicine comes in the form of a capsule, vaporizer, or oil. Doctors will recommend a specific form and dosage based on their patient’s health.

The cost of the marijuana depends on the weight and size of the individual. While health insurance currently does not cover medical marijuana, Dr. Dahmer gave an estimate of $50 to $100 for the vaporizer. Vireo Health is currently working with the DOH to determine final costs.

Although our tour of the facility ended with closed doors, Hoffnung said Vireo Health plans to continue opening their doors to more patients throughout the state with three more dispensaries coming in the near future.

“Medical marijuana has been illegal for nearly a century and now things are quickly changing,” says Hoffnung. “New York is the 23rd state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. More states are adopting marijuana and the federal government is making changes. I’m proud to be part of New York state history.”

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.