It was one of those rides where we ran out of food, water, and legs, all in just 26 miles.It’s what happens when you try finding new trails that are “off the map.” All I can say, is that we were “Hinkered.” Ben Hinker has this beautiful way of making any ride turn epic with a simple suggestion followed by, “Whatever you guys think…” He wasn’t even on the ride this time and managed to “Hinker” us. No, no. He was sitting back somewhere with his feet up, having a beer while we suffered on an endless climb, cursing his name with every pedal stroke.Ok, so it wasn’t that bad, but he’s easy to rile, so that’s always part of the game. We relentlessly tease and blame him for our misery, only because we can never keep up with him. I think I’ve only ever out-climbed him once.The only reason I succeeded was because I had anger to fuel my pedal strokes. I was mad that he‘d quit riding bikes for several months. I still had to be in really good shape. Maybe it’s all of those commuter miles he had under his belt after being carless for seven years. The other part is how he just keeps frigging pedaling, no matter what.So there the three of us were, searching for the magical trail, which we’d passed miles back. We were looking for the second trail, because that’s what we swore he’d said. It wasn’t a steep climb, where you’d pretty immediately say, F*&% this, turning back. It was a slow, steady climb through brambles and tall grass. At one point I just lied down in the grass to watch the clouds pass. I should still be checking for ticks. I strategically saved my peanut butter and banana sandwich for a time that I needed it most, yet just 20 minutes later I couldn’t help but join the group fantasy about burgers. The funny thing is that by the time we hit civilization it was beer we poured into our bodies first – something to numb the legs.By the time we hit a somewhat downhill stretch of grassy road I was so tired that I couldn’t really make physical decisions or changes. I’m pretty certain that I was asleep on the handlebars when my front wheel sunk into a slight divet that normally would have resulted in me quickly leaning my weight over the back wheel to wheelie over it. This time, for some reason, I felt that sailing over the handlebars was a much simpler option. It was more like a pile drive into the soft dirt, twisting my nipple on the handlebar and taking the headset into the pubic bone, which was already severely bruised from a slow-speed wreck a week back. By now you think I’m a totally idiot, but I swear, I’m just klutzy when I’m tired or not paying attention… 1 2
Only patients with 10 medical conditions, such as HIV, AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and cancer, qualify for the medical marijuana certificates given by physicians registered with the New York State Department of Health. The doctors have to undergo a four-hour training course and pay a $249 fee. As of this week 409 patients have signed up in New York and 302 doctors have registered.Despite the restrictions and the slow implementation of the program, state Assemb. Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), who has been sponsoring medical marijuana legislation for almost two decades, remains optimistic.“I would say the glass is three-quarters full, which is pretty good in life,” he said. “Ultimately the law, even as currently written, is going to provide important relief for thousands and thousands of seriously ill patients. I think it could work a whole lot better and serve a lot more patients in need if some of the restrictions the governor insisted on can be changed.”In the current legislative session, the Assemblyman has introduced some amendments to address these concerns.“We’re still going to be working to fill the glass,” he told the Press. “I’ve always believed that on this issue the general public is way ahead of a lot of elected officials.”Advocates for the law hope the health commissioner will exercise his leeway to include at least five more qualifying serious medical conditions and allow doctors to more easily participate in the program. The dispensaries are also on a tight watch to prevent abuse. That intense scrutiny applies to the dispensaries’ suppliers too, noted Gottfried. These producers have to use their own trucks and drivers—not Federal Express, for example—and each truck has to be outfitted like an armored bank truck with its own safe to keep the product locked up. When one driver stops for coffee, another has to remain in the truck at all times.“You would think they’re delivering plutonium,” observed Gottfried.Gottfried disagrees with the health department’s insistence that the list of approved doctors be kept secret.“I don’t think there is any legal justification for doing that,” he said. “The department ought to put it on its website.”Although there’s no publicly available list of certified physicians, Columbia Care maintains its own list it can supply prospective patients. Potential patients, who are battling debilitating illnesses, are also struggling with the restrictions.Before they can receive treatment, patients have to locate a physician who has been approved by the state to issue a prescription. In many cases, their primary care doctor may not even know who they can turn to.“We’ve gotten literally dozens and dozens of calls from patients every day really frustrated and angry that they’re not able to enroll in the program because they can’t find a physician,” said Julie Netherland, a director at the Drug Policy Alliance, which runs the Compassionate Care coalition of patients and caregivers and was involved in lobbying for the bill.“It is a fairly narrow and restrictive program,” she told the Press. “You can see that there are huge areas of the state that are not well served and Long Island is one of them. It’s a big area and only two are slated to open. The very people who qualify for the program are some of the sickest and most disabled folks in New York for whom travel can be really difficult and burdensome.”She said it’s very hard to know how many patients would want to participate in the program, especially considering the limited number of qualifying conditions. One of the five dispensary companies licensed to supply the product in New York told Netherland that they estimated 400,000 to 500,000 patients but “I don’t know how accurate that is.”Patients who qualify have to pay for it out of pocket because medical marijuana is not covered under any health insurance plans. The dispensaries have the option to price the product on a sliding scale in order to subsidize those patients who couldn’t otherwise afford the prescription. The drugs cost between $100-$300.The drug is taken orally, for now. They expect to roll out vapor and pills in the near future.“Somebody who wants to use marijuana for recreational purposes in New York does not need to go through this whole health department process to get access to it,” said Gottried. “You can go to almost any street corner. You don’t have to register your name and address with the state if you’re interested in smoking a joint.”On Long Island, Bloomfield Industries Inc. is opening a dispensary at 2001 Marcus Ave., Suite NI, in Lake Success. Columbia Care runs the dispensary at 1333 East Main St. in Riverhead.“We think this is a wonderful opportunity for patients and physicians to really examine and take advantage of a new form of health care,” Columbia Care CEO Nicholas Vita told the Press inside the facility Friday morning.Vita said about 15 patients have scheduled appointments as of Thursday evening. Over next several weeks it will transition to regular business as opposed to strictly appointment based.“The goal for us is to make sure no one ever comes and leaves empty handed,” Vita said. “If they want medicine, they should be able to get medicine, and that’s something we have the ability to do.”The facility does not have any signs or markings outside indicating it’s a medical marijuana dispensary. Inside, it’s decorated with succulents and retro furniture.Columbia Care has four facilities statewide, which is the max under the law. They’re in Riverhead, Manhattan, Plattsburgh and Rochester.But New Yorkers won’t have the same options patients in other states have.“There are lots of restrictions on the kinds of medical marijuana that are available in New York that don’t apply to other states,” said Netherland, noting that other states permit smokables, edibles, patches and lotions, as well as dozens of different strains. “That’s important because physicians and patients want the flexibility to be able to match a therapeutic strain to a particular set of symptoms. In New York there are only five strains or brands being allowed for each company. So if you go into a dispensary, you’re going to have a fairly limited selection.“We all want to see a well-regulated system,” said Netherland. “The problem is that you have to balance that regulation with patient access.” She thinks the state has tipped the balance too far.“My hope is that as the program rolls out,” Netherland said, “the state will realize that it doesn’t need all the restrictions that it’s put into place and will really change the program in a way that allows the patients to get the medicine they need more easily.”—With Rashed Mian Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]L[/dropcap]ittle by little, New York is finally joining 22 other states plus Washington, D.C., in offering medical marijuana to qualified patients at tightly regulated dispensaries that are slowly opening across the Empire State. All told, there will be 20 when the program is fully operational. Two facilities are set to open Friday on Long Island, one in Riverhead and the other at Lake Success.Like Minnesota, New York’s stipulations are very restrictive, permitting the dispensaries to sell the drug only in oils and tinctures—not in smokable or edible form—compared to other states that have legalized medical marijuana.“Our goal is to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the treatment they need through a controlled, regulated process,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a press release when the law passed in 2014 as part of the Compassionate Care Act.
Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
Kobe Bryant died last month with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. He was 41. The league’s trade deadline is 3 p.m. EST Thursday.NFL-GIANTS STAFFKitchens among additions to Judge’s staff with N.Y. GiantsEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Recently fired Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens has been hired as the New York Giants tight end coach.New coach Joe Judge announced his 20-member staff on Wednesday, retaining six men from Pat Shurmur’s staff and filling out other spots with veteran NFL coaches and five from the college ranks. Associated Press Judge previously announced that former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett would be his offensive coordinator and Patrick Graham would handle the defense. Thomas McGaughey was retained as the special teams coach.Working with Garrett and Kitchens on the offensive side will be Jerry Schuplinski (quarterbacks), Burton Burns (running backs), Tyke Tolbert (wide receivers), Marc Colombo (offensive line), Ben Wilkerson (assistant offensive line), Derek Dooley (senior offensive assistant), Stephen Brown (offensive assistant) and Bobby Blick (offensive quality control).Assisting Graham on defense will be Sean Spencer (defensive line), Kevin Sherrer (inside linebackers), Bret Bielema (outside linebackers/senior assistant), Jerome Henderson (defensive backs), Anthony Blevins (assistant defensive backs), Jody Wright (defensive assistant), and Mike Treier (defensive quality control).Tom Quinn was retained as the assistant special teams coach.US OPEN-MICKELSON February 5, 2020 NBA-FOUR-TEAM TRADEAP sources: Covington, Capela on move in 4-team tradeUNDATED (AP) — Robert Covington is going to the Houston Rockets and Clint Capela is going to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a complicated trade that was struck early Wednesday involving four teams, 12 players and at least three draft picks, according to two people familiar with the situation.The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade has not received league approval. They say that among the key components, Covington and Jordan Bell will join the Rockets from Minnesota, Capela and Nene are leaving the Rockets for the Hawks. The Timberwolves will add soon-to-be restricted free agents Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez from Denver, and the Nuggets get Shabazz Napier from Minnesota plus a first-round pick from Houston.Also in the deal: Jarred Vanderbilt is leaving Denver for Minnesota, and the Nuggets are getting Keita Bates-Diop and Noah Vonleh from the Timberwolves as well as Evan Turner from the Hawks. Gerald Green — who is out with a season-long foot injury — also goes to Denver from Houston to help make the math work and is likely to be waived once the deal is final, and Atlanta will also have to make another move to finalize the trade since it must first clear a roster spot. ESPN reported Wednesday that the Hawks would waive Chandler Parsons to clear the necessary space. The 31-year-old right-hander was a first-time All-Star last year, when he made $4 million. He had a 2.30 ERA in 65 relief appearances with 64 strikeouts and 17 walks for Detroit and Atlanta, which acquired him at the July 31 trade deadline. He had a 4.01 ERA in 27 games for the Braves.Greene is eligible for free agency after this season.In other baseball news:— The Chicago Cubs invited former closer Brandon Morrow to spring training. The 35-year-old right-hander has a chance to return to the Cubs after they opted in November to buy him out for $3 million rather than exercise a $12 million option. Morrow agreed to a $21 million, two-year contract before the 2018 season and had 22 saves and a 1.47 ERA in 35 games when he was shut down that July because of a bone bruise in his right elbow. He had elbow surgery four months later and has not pitched since. Morrow was one of 21 non-roster players invited to camp in Mesa, Arizona. Pitchers and catchers begin workouts on Feb. 12, with the first full squad workout on Feb. 17.— Major League Baseball is returning to the Dominican Republic for the first time in 20 years. The Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers will play a spring training game in Santo Domingo on March 7. MLB has never played a regular-season game in the Dominican Republic. The last exhibition there was between Boston and Houston in 2000 at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal, also the site of this year’s game. Detroit will be the home team for the game. Mickelson says he won’t accept US Open exemptionPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Phil Mickelson is still not exempt for the U.S. Open and says he won’t accept a special invitation.The U.S. Open is the one major keeping Mickelson from the career Grand Slam and no other major has given him more grief. His six runner-up finishes, most recently at Merion in 2013, is a U.S. Open record.The U.S. Open occasionally awards a special exemption to the game’s best players when they are not eligible. Ernie Els has received such an exemption each of the last two years. Jack Nicklaus received eight of them. Mickelson, who has won five majors, is certain to receive at least one if he needs it. But he has made clear he doesn’t want one.Mickelson is No. 72 in the world. He can avoid qualifying by getting into the top 60 on May 18 following the PGA Championship or on June 15, the final ranking before the U.S. Open is held. KOBE BRYANT-ITALYItalian team retires Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 in tributeRIETI, Italy (AP) — The first Italian basketball team that Kobe Bryant’s father played for, NPC Rieti, retired the Lakers superstar’s jersey to the rafters in a pregame ceremony Wednesday.A gold Lakers’ jersey with Bryant’s No. 24 was lifted to the ceiling of the arena as a recording of Bryant’s lineup introduction from his NBA playing days was played.Rieti was where Joe Bryant, Kobe’s father, made his Italian basketball debut in 1984. Kobe was 6 at the time. Joe Bryant went on to play for three other teams in Italy and Kobe grew up in the country until moving back to Pennsylvania for high school. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-NEWSBraves beat Shane Greene in salary arbitrationUNDATED (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have defeated Shane Greene in the first salary arbitration case this year, and the reliever will be paid $6.25 million instead of his request for $6.75 million. Update on the latest sports