Five months after its opening, the first Bronx medical marijuana dispensary is struggling to attract customers, officials with the program said.
Even after the state added chronic pain to the list of approved medical conditions for patients eligible for marijuana Hunts Point dispensary PharmaCannis is still striving to get the word out.
“The New York medical cannabis program — it’s struggling, but it’s surviving,” said Jeremy Unruh, a spokesman for the dispensary. “Competition is pretty fierce because there is such a small number of patients.”
Navigating the state’s medical marijuana program can be difficult for patients because the names of registered doctors are often not posted publicly, and there are lingering predisposed notions on the drug, Unruh explained.
A few hundred patients currently use the Bronx facility, he said.
“So now our efforts have really been focused on outreach,” Unruh said. “Dispelling these age-old notions of making a medical cannabis recommendation is really the barrier to making this program a success.”
The dispensary will also start delivering to places like retirement communities and nursing homes, with home delivery on the horizon, said Anna Poulin, the outreach manager with PharmaCannis.
“For us it’s about taking care of the patient first and making sure that they get what they need and they get what they can afford,” she said.
Pelham Bay resident Frank Libal, 67, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and has been a customer at the Bronx location since it opened in November.
“I was waiting for the dispensary to open. There’s really not enough” of them, said Libal, adding that the marijuana has helped him more than conventional medicine. “In my heart I believe it works better.”
A spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Health said the program has “made great strides” since it launched. She