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!

Understanding New York Medical Marijuana Laws- Is Weed Legal in NY?

New York medical marijuana laws came into effect after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s Medical Marijuana Bill into law in July 2014. The law, which is now popularly referred to as the Compassionate Care Act (S7923), protects patients as well as caregivers after obtaining a registry identification card issued by a licensed or registered physician. 

New York became the 23rd state to introduce marijuana legalization for patients with debilitating medical conditions. And all of this happened in the presence of Amanda Houser. A patient that was suffering from Dravet Syndrome that caused her to experience multiple seizures every day. Patients like her could now access medical marijuana and alleviate their symptoms without fearing any legal hassles anymore. 

What Are the New York Medical Marijuana Laws?

Precisely the following laws or acts are working in the state of New York concerning the use of medical marijuana. Here are the laws that govern all the rules and regulations concerning marijuana legalization in New york.

AB 6357

This bill governs the “medical use of marijuana.” It gives you an idea of the laws of New York concerning the use of medical marijuana by patients. And how they can get access to different products. Patients often get confused about “Is weed legal in New York?” irrespective of the fact that different sets of laws guard the use of medical marijuana. 

I am taking you through the guidelines issued by the Department of Health, New York. Make sure you go through the rules clearly to avoid any legal issues. 

Senate Bill S6579A

As per this law, residents across the state can now smoke or possess around 2 ounces of marijuana without any criminal implications. This changes the position of marijuana possession from a low-level misdemeanor to a non-criminal violation. But, there is a glitch, you can receive a summon that might result in fines. A penalty might be as less as $50 or a max of $200. 

Source 

How to Become a Qualifying Medical Marijuana Patient in New York?

There are a lot of complexities to becoming a legal marijuana patient in New York. It does not end with doctor recommendations. Let’s delve into some more information concerning the New York medical marijuana laws and regulations.

What Medical Conditions Will Make You Eligible For Medical Marijuana in New York?

Not every medical condition is enlisted among the qualifying conditions. If you have one or more severe debilitating or life-threatening medical conditions such as:

  1. Cancer
  2. HIV/AIDS
  3. ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
  4. Parkinson’s Disease
  5. Huntington’s Disease
  6. MS
  7. Spinal Cord Injury including Spasticity
  8. Epilepsy
  9. IBD
  10. Neuropathy
  11. PTSD
  12. Chronic pain (Only the ones that degrade your ability to conduct your daily life activities or your health as a whole)
  13. Or any other debilitating conditions including one or more of the complications such as Cachexia, severe or chronic pain, nausea, seizures, Opioid use disorder, persistent muscle spasms. 

How to Register For a Medical Marijuana Card?

  1. The first step to entering a medical marijuana program is finding a registered practitioner. After finding one, ask him/her to certify you as a qualifying patient. 
  2. Once you are done with that, login https://my.ny.gov/ and create an ID first. Follow the instructions using this link https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/docs/my_ny_gov_instructions.pdf
  3. Then click on the icon referring to “ Health Applications,” and then click on the “Medical Marijuana Data Management System.” There is a $50 fee as per the Compassionate Care Act. However, for now, the Department is waiving the prices for all caregivers and qualified patients. 
  4. Patients are given a chance to designate at least two caregivers. Once your registration is processed, look for the caregiver’s enrollment in the next part of the article.
  5. After the approval, the department will issue a temporary registry identification card that can be used with the government-issued photo identification until you get your final ID card via mail. At the time of renewal, the patient and caregiver must register at the same time. 
  6. Patients must always carry their ID cards and certifications whenever purchasing their medications. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Marijuana Use in New York

One can find patients looking for several queries concerning “how much weed is legal in New York?” or “what weed is legal in New York?” We have enlisted some of the vital queries tp help you with all those questions. 

What are the forms of medical marijuana products allowed in New York?

The following are the approved forms of medical marijuana available in New York, but they are are not limited to just that. They include solid or semi-solid dosage forms like capsules, tablets, or lozenges, oils for vaping or for oral use, ground preparations or marijuana plants, topicals, and transdermals. Edibles are prohibited as per New York medical marijuana laws. 

What Must a Practitioner Certificate Include?

The certifying practitioner must include all the information such as the approved form of medical marijuana, its administration method, any limitations associated with it. If there is a recommended dosage, include that as well in the certificate. 

How much Weed is Legal in New York?

Registered organizations can dispense not more than 30- day supply of medical marijuana to any certified patient or designated caregiver. You can get the information about registered organizations by clicking here.

How to Buy Medical Marijuana at Registered Organizations?

Certified patients or designated caregivers must always carry their registry ID cards along with certifications to possess or carry the approved marijuana products. Make sure you don’t travel with these products outside the state. Caregivers need to carry their registry ID cards along with their patient’s certifications to dispense any approved products. 

How to Register as a Designated Caregiver in New York?

Any designated caregiver needs to register with the Department of Health to receive a registry identification card. They can possess, deliver, transfer, transport, or administer marijuana products to their patients using that. As per the New York medical marijuana laws, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps to complete your registration process. But, before anything, patients must designate you as their caregiver within the Medical Marijuana Data Management System. Once that is done, you have to follow the exact steps as one does for applying as a patient. 

If you are running a caregiving facility, you can still register as a designated caregiver. The Department of Health allows the following facilities as designated caregivers. 

  1. General hospital operating as per Article 28 of Public Health Law
  2. An adult care facility that is operating as per Title 2 of Article7 of the Social Services Law. 
  3. A mental Health hygiene facility or a residential treatment facility for children or youth in accordance with Article 31 of Mental Hygiene Law.
  4. A private or public school. 

How to Register as a Practitioner With The Medical Marijuana Program?

As per the 10 NYCRR §1004.1(a), if you wish to issue medical marijuana certifications, you must:

  1. Be qualified to treat patients with one or more medical conditions. For that, you must have a valid Federal Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 certification. 
  2. Be practicing medicine as per Article 131 of the NYS Education Law. Or be certified as a nurse practitioner as per Article 139 in the same law. You can also be licensed physician assistance as per Article 131-B of the NYS Education Law. 
  3. Have completed a course approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Health. 
  4. Be registered with the New York State Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program.

You can look for the relevant information for registering as a designated practitioner by clicking here. 

Summary of New York Medical Marijuana Laws- Compassionate Care Act

Patients

  1. A registered health care practitioner must certify them.
  2. They must have a qualifying medical condition (debilitating or life-threatening).

Practioner 

  1. Report all the information to the Department of Health.
  2. Must certify medical marijuana within limits.
  3. They can never certify themselves as patients.

Caregivers

  1. Must be registered with the Department of Health.
  2. They must be above the age of 21 years.
  3. Cannot help more than five designated patients.