By Aubrie Tolliver SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC News) – Every New York doctor can legally prescribe it, but not every doctor has flaunted it like Fayetteville neurosurgeon Dr. Gary Rodziewicz has.
“We’re going through a process of growth in our country about a lot of things,” said Rodziewicz, “and one of the things we’re changing is our attitudes about is the value of marijuana as a medicine.”
Rodziewicz is a medicinal marijuana-prescribing doctor. He hired Cowley Associates, a local advertising agency, to market his practice, MedMarijuana Consultants, a business that promotes awareness of the health benefits. The ultimate goal is to change the stigma around the medicinal form of the drug.
“One of the things we wanted to do is simply put the thought in people’s head that medical marijuana can help them.”
Since their partnership, the new name and logo have been seen on the web and a billboard on I690 in Syracuse.
Rebecca Ortiz, a marketing professor at Syracuse University, examined the MedMarijuana Consultants logo.
“What’s interesting about this is they don’t have to do a lot with their message because as soon as you see the marijuana leaf it is very clear what it is,” she said. “Usually what we are trying to do with advertising is we’re trying to get noticed within a sea of clutter.”
Medical marijuana was legalized in the state of New York in July of 2014 but not in the way western states like California and Colorado have. It is much heavier regulated. For instance, there are just 10 illnesses on the state of New York’s pre-approved list for which doctors can prescribe medical marijuana:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- HIV / AIDS
- Cancer chemotherapy
- Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis: IBD
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
Such strict guidelines practically reinforce the illicit nature of the drug, deterring many doctors from even entering the medicinal cannabis market. But, Ortiz says this may not be a problem for Dr. Rodziewicz.
“Even if it’s stigmatizing, he’s probably going to get a lot of patients because he is being open and outwardly about it by using actual mainstream advertising,” Ortiz said.
Dr. Rodziewicz said he has not received any backlash from his advertisements.