Is Medical Marijuana Legal in New York?
Yes! Medical marijuana is legal in New York since 2014 when the Compassionate Care Act was signed. To access marijuana from medical dispensaries, patients & caregivers need to have valid registry ID cards. Registered users are allowed to hold up to a 30-day supply of cannabis products.
In New York, The Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) is responsible for the registry and certification of patients and caregivers statewide. The adult-use marijuana is illegal in the state.
Let’s learn about medical marijuana laws, MMJ registry program, qualifying conditions, and more.
History of Medical Marijuana Legalization in NY
New York started limiting the legal use of marijuana in 1914, restricting it for medical use. Then in 1927, the state banned it totally.
There has been a lot of debates on the legalization of marijuana, but the New York State Legislature was not able to make a decision. However, on July 29, 2019, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the decriminalization bill into law. It came into effect after a month. It increased the amount of cannabis users can possess without getting booked with a criminal charge. This states—if you possess 2 ounces of cannabis products, it will be considered as a violation, but not a crime.
Prior to this, the fine for getting caught with 1 ounce of marijuana was $100. But, now, the fine is $50 for less than 1 ounce and $100 for quantities between 1 to 2 ounces.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New York?
Medical users who want to get legal access to marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries need to register for ID cards with the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP).
For registration, users need to talk to a medical marijuana doctor registered with the Department of Health. In the state, there’re about 1700 registered practitioners. The state has added nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the list of health professionals who are authorized to certify patients. Practitioners need to complete an education course approved by the Department of Health and register with the Health Commerce System.
To be medical users, patients must be the residents of New York or must be temporarily residing for medical treatment. Additionally, they must suffer from one of the MMJ qualifying conditions listed below-
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Chronic pain that meets legal definitions, such as pain that lasts three months or more
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Opioid use or substance use disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pain that degrades health and functional capability
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Spinal cord injury with spasticity
- A severe, debilitating, or life-threatening condition accompanied by one or more of the following associated or complicating conditions:
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Opioid use disorder
The doctor will comprehensively check your condition to evaluate if you’re eligible to access marijuana for medical purposes. They may ask you for medical history for verification purposes.
Buying Marijuana Products
In New York, as of June 2019, 10 state-regulated organizations are running 35 dispensaries. Patients and caregivers need to bring their ID cards for buying marijuana products from these dispensaries. However, some organizations also offer online ordering facility.
Medical marijuana is available in various non-smokable forms—capsules, oils, spray, liquids, and vaporizer products. The current law prohibits edibles. However, you can buy CBD-infused beverages and foods. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which doesn’t cause any high effects.
The prices for marijuana products may vary from dispensary to dispensary. However, the Department of Health checks dispensary reports and decides the maximum price-per-milligram dose based on various factors. These are costs of manufacturers, market, etc.
Possession of Marijuana Products
In New York, patients can hold up to a 30-day supply of marijuana products. The state allows only registered users and caregivers with valid ID cards to possess cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries.
In places where smoking tobacco is prohibited, smoking or vaping approved medical marijuana products is illegal. Users can’t smoke cannabis within 100 feet/30 ½ meters of public/private school grounds. Moreover, users can’t use marijuana in motor vehicles on public/private roads or parking spaces.
What about transporting marijuana outside the state? As per New York regulations, it’s not allowed.
Additionally, the state doesn’t offer reciprocity, which means, MMJ cards issued by other states aren’t accepted.
Regulations For Caregivers
Caregivers provide the required support to patients to help them in managing their conditions. In New York, certified patients can designate caregivers. One patient can use services of up to 2 caregivers. However, as of December 2017, patients can designate certain facilities as caregivers.
Caregivers are also required to apply for the same process as patients for identification purposes. Once registered, a caregiver can provide services up to 5 patients in administrating medical marijuana treatment. It’s necessary to note that cannabis should be in proper consumption forms and dosages for patients.
Marijuana Cultivation at Home
Several marijuana legalized states allow cultivation of cannabis plants at home for personal use. But, in New York, patients aren’t allowed to do so.
Testing of Marijuana Products
All marijuana products should be tested by a laboratory approved by the Environmental Laboratory Approval Program of the Department of Health. The testing process should check cannabinoid profile and other contaminants listed below-
- Bile-tolerant gram-negative bacteria
- Escherichia coli (e. coli)
- Growth regulators used during production
- Mucor species
- Penicillium species
- Pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides used during production
- Pseudomonas, for products to be vaporized
- Thermophilic Actinomycetes species
- Any other substance as required by the Commissioner of Health
Covering it up—hope you get the answer for is medical marijuana legal in New York? The state allows NY residents and those residing temporarily for treatment to access marijuana for medical use from state-licensed dispensaries.
Patients and caregivers need to register for ID cards with the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). They can possess up to a 30-day supply of marijuana products. In New York, smoking/vaping marijuana is illegal in places where smoking tobacco is prohibited. Additionally, transporting marijuana outside the state, growing cannabis plants at home, and sale or gifting of any amount is illegal.
Talk to a licensed doctor to apply for your medical marijuana card in New York today!