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Training for doctors who OK pot

ALBANY — New York state will require physicians to complete an educational course before they can authorize medical marijuana for patients — a condition generally not applied to new drugs or seen in other states with existing medical pot programs.

The 4.5 hour online training course will cost doctors $250.

Officials say training will help physicians understand the drug when the state’s medical marijuana program begins in January. But some patient advocates say the inconvenience could discourage physicians from participating, ultimately limiting patient access.

Craig Blinderman, director of adult palliative care at Columbia University Medical Center, says doctors need information on marijuana but that only “the most motivated” will complete the training.

Many states with medical marijuana laws require physicians to register but do not require them to pay for special training.