ALBANY - Nassau and Suffolk counties each will get one medical marijuana dispensary, though no manufacturing sites, state officials said Friday.
The state Health Department announced its selection of five companies to run medical marijuana operations across New York, completing a major step in the launch of the new medical treatment program. Each company will run four dispensaries for a total of 20 statewide.
None of the six Long Island companies vying for the lucrative licenses were chosen. Forty-three companies statewide put in bids.
Among the winners, Bloomfield Industries was selected to manufacture medical marijuana in Queens and run four dispensaries, including one in Nassau.
Columbia Care NY LLC will manufacture the drug in the Rochester area and will run four dispensaries, including one in Suffolk County. A Columbia spokesman said several sites are under consideration but the company wants to touch base with residents and local leaders before moving forward with a precise location.
"We don't want to do this till the community is set and is happy about it," said Peter Kerr, spokesman for Columbia Care, which he said is affiliated with Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Bloomfield representatives didn't immediately return calls or emails.
Queens will get a dispensary, operated by Empire State Health Solutions, headquartered in Fulton County, just west of Albany.
"The five organizations selected for registration today showed, through a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process, they are best suited to produce and provide quality medical marijuana to eligible New Yorkers in need, and to comply with New York's strict program requirements," Dr. Howard Zucker, New York's health commissioner, said in a statement.
The program is supposed to begin serving patients by Jan. 5 or when the system is certified by the state commissioner of health and superintendent of State Police.
Eligible patients include those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington's disease, wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms.
The list may be expanded.
Patients will be allowed to get prescriptions to obtain forms of the drug that are edible or vaporized, but not smoked.
Here is the general list of dispensary locations: 1 in Suffolk County, 1 in Nassau, 1 in Queens, 2 in Manhattan, 1 in the Bronx, 2 in Westchester, 1 in Ulster, 3 in Albany, 1 in Plattsburgh, 3 in Syracuse, 1 in Binghamton, 1 in Rochester, 2 in Buffalo.