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New York Cannabis FAQs

New York Cannabis (FAQs)

Here are the most common New York Cannabis FAQs we see across our New York community. This FAQ section is updated regularly, so if you’ve got a question we missed, please let us know.

Is Cannabis legal in New York? What about medical cannabis?

As of March 31st, 2021, cannabis for adults over 21 is legal. New York also has a medical cannabis program. It’s going to take some time before retail cannabis dispensaries open across the state of course. 

How do I get my medical cannabis card in New York?

The Medical Marijuana Program is currently run by the New York Department of Health. There were some excellent improvements included in the MRTA Bill S854A  that was signed into law in March 2021, but for now, until the Office of Cannabis Management becomes fully functioning, everyone must follow the current regulations for the program. Check back often with the program for changes. 

  • You will need to have a new York State ID Card such as a driver’s license or non-driver ID card 
  • Qualified patients must get certified by approved providers as a first step. 
  • Once certified patients must create an account and register with the Medical Marijuana program 
  • Caregivers are allowed and are mandatory for patients under 18 

Currently, the qualifying conditions to be eligible for medical marijuana are as follows: 

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal cord nerve injury with intractable spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Opioid alternative for pain that degrades health and functional capability
  • Neuropathy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Substance use disorder

Patients must also have one of the following associated or complicating conditions:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Opioid use disorder, but only if enrolled in a treatment program certified pursuant to Article 32 of the Mental Hygiene Law

Once the new law takes effect for the medical program, the patient’s qualifying medical provider will be allowed to decide if the patient will benefit from medical cannabis instead of being held back by the former list. The certifying providers must be New York State approved. 

How long does it take to get my medical card?

Once you have your certification and register with the state, you will get a temporary printable card immediately. Your permanent card will be mailed to you.

What are some of the changes in the New York Medical Cannabis Program?
  • No Fee for registration
  • 60 day supply of medicine instead of 30
  • Variety of products will expand including whole flower
  • Patients can grow up 6 plants (3 in veg/3 in flower) and begin to grow sooner than the general population
  • Designated Caregiver may home cultivate cannabis
  • Practitioners may choose what illness or ailment are  qualifying conditions instead of having to use the state-approved list only
Will Insurance cover my medical cannabis?

Unfortunately no. New York does not require insurance or Medicaid to cover the cost of medical cannabis.

Is it legal to grow cannabis in New York?

Yes and no! 

New York state has legalized adult-use cannabis including home cultivation. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act ( MRTA Bill S854A  )  was signed into law in March 2021, but for now, until the Office of Cannabis Management becomes fully functioning, adults must wait to grow. The estimate given in legislation is 18 months wait for adults and 6 months for registered medical patients. Regulations have yet to be written on many of the details. What we do know is that adults 21 and over may grow 3 immature plants and 3 mature plants each. The maximum number of plants per household is 6 mature and 6 immature plants. The amount of cannabis that can be stored in a secure location of your home is up to 5 lbs. The possession amount for cannabis elsewhere is 3 ounces or less which is now current law. No county, town, city or village may completely prohibit home cultivation.

Where is it safe to consume cannabis?

As of March 31, 2021, cannabis consumption for adults over 21 is legal. You make smoke, “vape”,  cannabis in public except where tobacco smoking is prohibited. Private property owners may prohibit cannabis and prohibited on school properties as well as in or near school buses. New York does have the opportunity to issue consumption lounge licenses.

What are the cannabis possession laws in New York?

It’s legal to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrate. You may possess up to 5 lbs of cannabis in a private residence. It is now legal to “gift” cannabis to an adult over 21 in New York but not to sell unlicensed. Although New York is now legalized, it’s going to take a while before retail dispensaries are open to the public.

( research note not for website) See MRTA Article 222 pg 86 

Now that New York has “legalized”, what are some of the changes concerning cannabis and the law?
  • Adults over 21 are allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrate. In effect now
  • Adults over 21 are allowed to home cultivate 3 mature and 3 immature plants each. The maximum number of plants per household regardless of the number of adults is 6 mature and 6 immature plants. Not in effect yet.
  •  Because of home cultivation, adults over 21 may possess up to 5 lbs of cannabis in their private residence. 
  •  No county, town, city, or village may completely prohibit home cultivation but may regulate.
  • An “Opt-Out” provision is allowed for a county, town, city, or village to prohibit the sale of cannabis retail locations and consumption lounges.  
  • You may smoke / vape cannabis in public basically where tobacco smoking is allowed. Never on school grounds, in or near school buses, on federal lands, or on any private property prohibiting. 
  • Consumption lounges will be allowed by licensing
  • Adult-use Cultivator, processor, distributor, cooperative, retail, microbusiness, delivery, and nursery licenses will be available.