The New York State Medical Insurance Corporation (MSIC) said it plans not to provide coverage for medical marijuana patients and other patients who have tested positive for medical cannabis.
The announcement was made in a news release on Thursday, one day after a report from the New York Daily News, which said MSIC is the largest state medical insurer covering more than 1 million medical marijuana prescriptions.
The MSIC said the company will no longer offer coverage for patients who are likely to be “potentially unsafe” after testing positive for cannabis in the last 12 months, the newspaper reported.
MSIC has not yet provided any specific numbers for the number of patients it has excluded from coverage.
The news release also said the medical insurance plan will not cover patients who may be “under the influence of marijuana,” or marijuana that has been infused into their body, “when they are in their medical condition.”
The news releases come after the New Yorker newspaper reported that MSIC would be stepping up coverage for people who test positive for marijuana, and that the insurance plan would cover the costs of testing positive and any subsequent treatment.
A spokesman for the company did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Medical marijuana is legal in New York, but state law prohibits doctors from recommending or dispensing medical marijuana, so only about 10 percent of the state’s registered patients have access to it.
The state has had a legal medical marijuana program for some time, but the state has not issued any medical marijuana cards for individuals under the age of 18, a practice that is prohibited by federal law.
In the New Jersey state, medical marijuana is illegal, but in California it’s legal for people over the age 18 to grow and use the drug.