When Will Marijuana be Legal in NY?

When Will Marijuana be Legal in NY

As of now, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana including New York, and 12 states have legalized recreational marijuana. These are exciting times for canna enthusiasts as cannabis is finally getting the accolade it deserves. And rightly so. Medical marijuana provides amazing medicinal benefits and has proven to help people with conditions and their symptoms like chronic pain, depression, epilepsy, nausea, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress, anxiety, etc.

The beauty of cannabis is that you get to choose the strain you want. There are thousands of cannabis strains that you can get; each having their unique aroma, flavor, and effects. Also, you get to choose the method of consumption. You can smoke, vape, eat, or even apply it. But some of these methods are not legal in New York. We will get to that later on. The state is actually known for having one of the strictest cannabis programs in the country. Let’s take a look why.

Are you a New Yorker wondering when will marijuana be legal in NY?

When Will Marijuana be Legal in NY

Medical Marijuana

In 2014, medical marijuana was legalized in the state of New York. Although people tend to stay distant because of the process being inconvenient, time-consuming, and expensive. But all that changed when telemedicine entered the fray. The process became easier, inexpensive, and convenient.

To access medical marijuana in New York, first, you need to check if your condition qualifies for the New York state medical marijuana program. As per the Assembly Bill, a person diagnosed with a severe condition like Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Chronic Pain, Parkinson’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, Inflammatory bowel disease, ALS, Spinal cord nerve injury with intractable spasticity, PTSD, Neuropathy, Opioid alternative for pain, Epilepsy, Huntington’s Disease and Substance use disorder is awarded legal protection by the state of New York.

These 14 conditions qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation in the state. Also, the person must have certain symptoms accompanying any one of the conditions mentioned above. These include nausea, cachexia, chronic pain, PTSD, seizures, opioid use disorder, and muscle spasms.

Now, to get access to medical marijuana in New York, you must also qualify the residency criteria of the state. Here, you must demonstrate ID proof for residency in the state through a New York State Driver’s license or a New York State non-driver ID card.

If you meet this criterion then all left to do is to get yourself a medical recommendation to get legal access to the herb. To get that, you must seek a licensed medical professional registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. Telemedicine has made this process quite easy with you not having to even step outside your house.

Fill an online application and you will be connected to our doctor. He will do your 420 evaluation and if he feels you qualify for the medical marijuana program, you will receive a recommendation through email within minutes. After receiving this certification, you’ll need to register with the New York Department of Health to be a valid medical marijuana patient. The certified patients can name up to two caregivers, and those who can’t give consent, including children must name at least one caregiver.

Congratulations! Now you can access quality medical marijuana strains to manage your condition.

Although, you would want to control your excitement and keep the expectations not too high otherwise you may end up feeling disappointed. When we think about cannabis, we often associate it with smoking. But actually, there are other ways to consume the herb.

You can apply, spray, vape, and even take it as a capsule. And that is where the reality of medical cannabis in New York sets in. Medical marijuana is legal in New York, but it is available only in smoke-free and non-food product forms. Yes, you cannot smoke it in New York, but there is a silver lining to it; By doing this, the state wants to ensure the safest delivery methods for the patients like capsules, oral sprays, oils, and vaporization.

Recreational Marijuana

Now, that we have established that medical marijuana is legal in the state, let’s talk about recreational marijuana. In August 2019, the long-overdue legislation decriminalizing marijuana in New York came into effect. It increased the amount of marijuana you can possess without getting booked with a criminal charge. So, now if you have 2 ounces of marijuana on you, it is considered as a violation and not a crime. Before, if you were only caught with an ounce of marijuana, the fine was $100, but now that has also been lowered to $50.

Also, cannabis was added to the definition of smoking in the Public Health Law, which essentially means that one cannot smoke marijuana where smoking tobacco is prohibited. So, next time if you decide to light one in a public place, you would likely get a citation but won’t be charged with a criminal offense that may go into your record permanently. This changes the marijuana paradigm of the state for the better.

This should have been good news but it came as a disappointment as people were expecting the legalization of recreational marijuana. As many touted it to be a big setback some people believed it to be just a delay. “It will be legalized. If not today. Then tomorrow. This is not the end just a delay” said Xin Ming Fu, a medical marijuana doctor in a statement.

So, let’s consider this decriminalization as a silver lining and hope that in near future recreational marijuana could also be legalized. So, I may not be able to point my finger at the answer to the question “When will marijuana be legal in NY,” but I can assure you that legalization of marijuana is peeking through the horizon.

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!

How To Get a Medical Marijuana Card in NY

With scientific evidence that smoking cannabis can help in promoting wellness, more & more people are interested in learning how to get a medical marijuana card in NY & other legalized states.

Medical marijuana can help in managing a wide range of mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, etc. The herb contains amazing cannabinoids, which possess ultimate medicinal properties. THC and CBD are the two most important cannabinoids.

When cannabinoids are delivered to the body, they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). As a result, they change different bodily functions such as sleep, memory, mood, and appetite.

Read on to learn more about why you should introduce medical marijuana in your daily lifestyle,  cannabis legalization, consumption methods, and more. 

How Can Medical Marijuana Help in Improving Life

It Relieves Pain

One of the most important benefits of cannabis consumption is its ability to ease pain and related symptoms. The cannabinoids provide relaxation effects, reducing pain, improving focus, thus boosting productivity.

Although there’s a wide range of prescription medications for relieving pain, they are not safe. Some of the common side-effects of pain medications are—constipation, nausea, sedation, drowsiness, and slowed breathing.

Cannabis is a safe treatment for pain. Additionally, it’s less addictive as compared to opioids. A recent study found that the number of people using opioids was reduced to 25% in cannabis legalized states.

 

It Reduces Anxiety

Anxiety is a common mental illness affecting about 40 million American adults. The most common symptoms of this condition are—excessive worrying, sleep problems, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, tense muscles, and panic attacks.

Consuming cannabis can help you boost memory, mood and promote sleep. This helps anxiety patients manage their symptoms completely.

Medical researchers have reported that CBD can help in promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which provides health benefits without causing high effects.

It Promotes Sleep

Sleep is important for both mental and physical wellness. Sleep disorders such as insomnia can interfere with your relationships and the ability to function properly in daily life.

There are many reasons how cannabis can help you sleep better. It helps in reducing muscle & joint pain, which is one of the major contributors to poor sleep. Marijuana relaxes your body and mind, thus reducing stress and promoting sleep.

 

It Boosts Productivity

According to a recent study, marijuana consumers are more socially active, creative and satisfied as compared to non-consumers. Here’re three ways cannabis can help in boosting productivity-

  • Reduces distractions. Artists, athletes, etc. agree with the fact that consuming marijuana helps them get into the zone where they can focus on one thing.
  • Increases creativity. The herb boosts creative thinking, thus generating more creative ideas and thoughts.
  • Boosts sleep. It’s clear that a well-rested body and mind will help you feel like working and concentrate on your work.

Some of the best cannabis strains for boosting productivity are—Harlequin, Haze, Super Sour Diesel, and Jack Herer.

It Promotes Mindfulness

Mindfulness is important. It’s the ability to deal with the present situation without changing it. Mindfulness is being present, and it’s often used for treating anxiety disorders, depression, and drug addiction.

According to a study performed by SPARC Medical Cannabis Dispensary in California, marijuana helped promote mindfulness in 8 participants who were drug and alcohol addicts. Researchers reported a significant decrease in cravings for drugs among participants.

Cannabis Legalization in the United States

As per federal regulations, cannabis is illegal in America. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 Drug along with heroin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Schedule 1 drugs are substances/chemicals, which have no accepted medical use and have high risks of abuse.

However, 33 states currently allow medical use of cannabis. These include Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, California, New York, etc.

Each state has its own rules and regulations for buying, possessing and using cannabis. Like, In New York, the list of MMJ qualification conditions include-

  • 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

Also Read- Learn About the New York Medical Marijuana Laws

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in NY

In New York, cannabis is legal for medical use. To access marijuana products from any state-licensed dispensary, you require a doctor’s recommendation. The recommendation should state that you want to use medical marijuana for alleviating your symptoms.

With telemedicine services, you can apply for your MMJ card online in a few minutes. Here’s the complete process on how to get a medical marijuana card online-

  • Sign up your account online
  • Talk to a licensed doctor through HIPAA-compliant software
  • Get your MMJ card in PDF format through the email

Note- a medical marijuana card in NY is not valid forever. You need to renew it before it expires to continue receiving medicinal benefits of cannabis.

Different Methods of Consumption of Cannabis

How cannabinoids is delivered to your system can influence marijuana’s effects on your body. Here are the common cannabis consumption methods-

Smoking

The most common methods of consuming medical marijuana. In this, dried cannabis flowers are smoked through a bong, pipe, or joint. It delivers immediate effects, which may last for 1-3 hours.

Vaping

A smokeless form of inhaling cannabis. It involves heating marijuana below its combustion point. You can feel the effects within thirty minutes, which last for a few hours.

Edibles

Cannabis edibles are available in different forms—candies, snacks, chocolate, pizza, sodas, etc. Thus, cannabinoids reach the cells through the liver. Usually, edibles take a bit more time to deliver their effects, which last longer than other consumption methods.

Topicals

Cannabis-infused lotions, balms, etc. can be applied directly to the skin to get more focused therapeutic effects. Onset time is 5 minutes to 2 hours while the effects last up to 12 hours.

Tinctures

Tinctures are available in different dosages and cannabinoid formulations. They are absorbed sublingually and are faster than edibles. Their effects last for a couple of hours.

Everyone has a different condition, thus may need to deliver cannabinoids to the body differently to receive full health benefits. Have an open discussion with a licensed doctor and seek professional help for what’s right for your condition.

Conclusion

Marijuana is a safe alternative to prescription medications. It promotes relaxation & sleep, reduces pain & anxiety, and boosts productivity. Cannabis has more than 100 cannabinoids, which work by binding to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

There are many ways to deliver cannabinoids to the body. Smoking and vaping allows you to receive immediate effects of the herb. You can apply cannabis-infused balms or lotions directly to the skin to get more targeted effects. Edibles such as candies, pizza, etc. take a bit longer to deliver its effects.

Talk to an MMJ doctor, discuss your condition, and get advice for marijuana strains and consumption method.

Apply for your medical marijuana card in New York today!