New York Weed Legalization – Everything You Need to Know

New York Weed Legalization

If you are about to get a medical marijuana card, it is imperative that we go through the New York weed legalization laws.

Cannabis has proven to have strong medicinal properties, especially for people suffering from chronic issues. There are two primary ways that marijuana is used. One is the doctor recommended medical use, and the other is a personal choice for recreational purposes.

But the question that must have come to your mind would be beyond just consumption preference are there any more differences between the two?

Well, there are. Today we will go into detail about the differences that exist between the two and what is the one that you can get in New York.

New York Weed Legalization

Medical Marijuana

Traditionally it was the whole cannabis plant with all of its cannabinoids that were propagated as medical cannabis. As research has broadened into this subject, medical marijuana has become a much more concentrated field.

Cannabis functions through a synergy effect brought along by the active chemicals ( THC and CBD) and Terpenes present in the plant.

Medical Marijuana has a higher CBD content; typically, this is not to say that THC isn’t an essential part of medical marijuana. But for people taking it for medicinal purposes, THC can act as a hindrance in their day to day functioning.

Recreational Marijuana

Cannabis used with the purpose of primarily getting high is recreational marijuana. There is absolutely no medical justification behind using cannabis, and this kind holds no other value apart from getting high.

A big misconception is that marijuana is a byproduct of the counter culture of the 60s, that is, however, not the case. It has been around in the traditional fold of medicines for centuries.

Lets now understand the subtle differences that exist between recreational and medical marijuana.

The Shopping Experience

This experience of just shopping itself is more or less the same, but the treatment at both can vary vastly depending on the dispensary.

Both recreational and medical shops have qualified personnel known as the Budtender, who will be able to guide you pick the right strain depending on the effects you are searching for.

In case of medical dispensaries, you have to own a medical marijuana card in New York and a valid id, whereas, in a recreational dispensary, all you need is a valid ID that states that you are of legal age.

Medical dispensaries also, at times, extend the courtesy and provide them with waiting rooms where they can wait and maintain privacy.

If you are a medical patient, it is essential to understand that recreational shops would provide you with cannabis but won’t be able to give you medical advice.

There are, however, a few shops that are dual licensed and would be able to provide you with the requisite cannabis.

When you are going to a dispensary, the relationship that you need to form is no less than what exists between a doctor and his patient. You would never go to a lousy doctor. Similarly, ensure that you try out multiple dispensaries until you find the perfect fit.

State Wise Perks

In the US, there exists a different set of perks that can be enjoyed by medical card holders i.e., users of medical marijuana vs. their recreational counterparts. Some of these perks include

  • Reduced cost of the product
  • A significant tax break
  • Allowance to carry larger quantities
  • Minors allowed to use in some instances (e.g., epilepsy)
  • Permission to plant a higher plant count

What Are The Uses Of Medical Marijuana?

Because of the ban on federal level research into cannabis is still in its formative years and there are hardly any long term conclusive studies, but there are some initial findings which have been promising,

Another point to note is that medical cannabis is not a treatment of problems, more like a handler of the symptoms.

HIV/AIDS

A study consisting of 10 people who were HIV positive and smoked cannabis was conducted to come to the conclusion that those who consumed marijuana were sleeping better, eating better, and having fewer mood swings.

A different study also pointed towards a reduction in neuropathic pain.

Alzheimer’s

Cannabis in patients suffering from cannabis acts as an appetite enhancer and calming agent. This helps the patients who display agitated behavior, which is a cause of the problem.

Cancer

There are animal studies that have shown promise in killing specific cancer cells. Some studies have gone as far as saying that it may stop cancer growth completely.

Studies in Mice have shown that with THC, the impact of chemotherapy on the cells improves. It is also a preventer of nausea that accompanies chemotherapy.

Chronic Pain

Here both human, as well as animal studies, have been shown to highlight a substantial analgesic effect. Over centuries this is the one thing for which marijuana has been significantly effective.

Many conditions have chronic pain as their leading symptom, and with cannabis, patients have the ability to alleviate pain and live a relatively healthy life.

Epilepsy

Extracts from medical marijuana have been found to reduce the frequency of certain seizures up to 50% in both adults as well as children.

Beyond these, there is also ongoing research into various other diseases like Glaucoma, schizophrenia and muscle spasms, and a lot more.

Medical Marijuana in New York

In New York, marijuana is highly regulated in New York. In terms of how it can be administered, the only way is vapourization, which has to be administered via inhalers or through oral capsules.

There is also a stringent list of qualifying conditions which includes:

  • HIV/Aids
  • Cancer
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • MS
  • Parkinsons
  • Glaucoma
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Cachexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s disease
  • IBD
  • Huntington’s
  • PTSD
  • Arthritis
  • Neuropathy

Furthermore, there is a restriction on growing cannabis for any purpose, as well.

This, of course, as usual not a very exhaustive list as it is continuously evolving. At this point in time, there are rumors that have hinted towards the legalization of recreational marijuana too, but what is going to happen remains to be seen.

Learn Medical Marijuana Laws & Legalization in New York

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
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain that meets legal definitions, such as pain that lasts three months or more
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathy
  • 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
  • Seizures

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-

  • Aflatoxin
  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Aspergillus
  • Bile-tolerant gram-negative bacteria
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Escherichia coli (e. coli)
  • Growth regulators used during production
  • Klebsiella
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Mucor species
  • Nickel
  • Ochratoxin
  • Penicillium species
  • Pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides used during production
  • Pseudomonas, for products to be vaporized
  • Salmonella
  • Streptococcus
  • Thermophilic Actinomycetes species
  • Zinc
  • 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!