New York Medical Marijuana Law
As of September 2022, over 120,000 New Yorkers are registered as medical marijuana patients. Enrollment in New York State’s cannabis program allows you to legally purchase and possess medical-grade cannabis products containing THC and CBD.
You qualify for a card if you suffer from a health condition and obtain a certification to use cannabis from a medical provider.
While New York recently enacted adult-use marijuana, sales have not started. If you suffer from a chronic medical condition, it's critical to consult a trained medical marijuana physician rather than attempting to self-treat.
They can assess your condition and confirm that marijuana will be beneficial. Understanding the applicable laws and rules regarding medical marijuana use will help you decide if the treatment is correct for you and help you navigate New York's changing marijuana landscape.
New York Medical Marijuana Law History
The New York assembly passed its first medical marijuana law in 2014. The legislation empowered the Department of Health to establish a regulatory agency called the Office of Cannabis Management to oversee dispensaries, educate physicians, and issue medical marijuana cards to patients.
The initial program mandated physicians order a marijuana dosage for their certified patients. Individuals could obtain a 30-day supply of cannabis, but dispensaries could not sell dried flowers for smoking. The state issued the first patient-ID cards in December 2015. The initial sale was in January 2016.
The first update to the law came later in 2016. The state allowed nurse practitioners to issue certifications and authorized dispensaries to sell to one another to prevent supply shortages. In 2017, the state added PTSD and chronic pain to its list of qualifying conditions.
New York expanded its medical cannabis program again in 2019, permitting providers to issue marijuana certifications for conditions that are traditionally treated with opioids, including acute pain management, and adding opioid use disorder to the list of qualifying conditions.
As of January 2022, thanks to new cannabis laws, doctors can issue certifications for any health condition if they believe cannabis will benefit the patient.
Marijuana Possession Laws in New York
Medical marijuana cardholders and their designated caregivers can legally purchase and possess up to a 60-day supply of adult-use cannabis, consistent with the dosage written by their doctor on the certification. You must carry your card and certification document when visiting a dispensary or possessing cannabis in public.
The state decriminalized possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana in 2020. Possession of more than 3 ounces without a medical marijuana card is punishable by jail time and a fine.
New York Public Consumption Laws
Under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, marijuana can be smoked anywhere tobacco can legally be smoked or vaped except in motor vehicles. Localities can pass ordinances banning marijuana consumption in certain areas, such as in parks or near churches and schools.
Due to the federal marijuana prohibition, you cannot possess or consume cannabis in national parks, federal buildings like courthouses, or federally subsidized housing.
New York Cannabis DUI Laws
Driving under the influence of cannabis is a misdemeanor charge under New York State law. Officers can issue citations if they observe impairment. The state punishes DUI offenses with a mandatory $500-$1,000 fine, minimum six-month license revocation, and up to one year in jail.
Subsequent violations carry harsher minimum punishments, up to the permanent loss of your license and 10 years in jail.
Neither you nor any passenger can consume cannabis in a vehicle, even if it is parked. Violations are punished under New York's open container law.
Applying for a New York Medical Marijuana Card?
The New York State Department of Health runs a generous medical marijuana program. If you have a medical condition (such as multiple sclerosis) that impacts your life and your doctor believes medical marijuana is clinically appropriate, you can apply for a medical marijuana identification card, which would allow for the legal use of cannabis.
After you consult a qualified medical marijuana doctor, they will issue a certification form listing your condition and marijuana dosage. You can then register for an online account and link your New York driver's license or non-driver ID.
You then select the health application tab on the electronic dashboard and apply through the Medical Cannabis Data Management System. Finally, you upload the supplemental documentation proving your identity and residency.
Once approved, you can immediately access a temporary ID card to begin purchasing medical-use cannabis from registered organizations. Your card will be sent to you by mail within 7 business days of approval.
The Sanctuary can advise you on the nuances of New York's cannabis program and help you navigate the application process. Our skilled team understands the questions and challenges facing new cannabis patients.
By submitting a complete and accurate application on your first attempt, you will secure the right to purchase and treat using cannabis as quickly as possible.
New York legalized recreational marijuana in March 2021 and is currently issuing facility licenses and setting up a regulatory process. While possession of up to 3 ounces is now legal, recreational sales at dispensaries have not started as of September 2022.
When they do begin, recreational users will not be allowed to purchase as much cannabis as registered medical cardholders.
Patients can purchase whole flower cannabis for vaporization, metered ground plant preparation for vaporization, vape cartridges and pens, capsules and tablets, tinctures, oral sprays and powders, lozenges, and transdermal patches.
Dispensaries are legally required to sell one brand of products with a low-THC to high-CBD ratio and one brand with an equal ratio of THC and CBD. They can stock any additional products they choose as long as they comply with OCM regulations.
New York does not allow the sale of dried flowers or prerolls. As of September 2022, you cannot possess or cultivate marijuana plants.
Possession of up to 3 ounces of cannabis is legal for all New Yorkers. Medical cardholders can purchase and possess up to a 60-day supply of cannabis, consistent with their doctor's dosing recommendation. However, doctors are not required to recommend a dose or form of cannabis to their patients.
No. You cannot visit a New York dispensary with an out-of-state card. It is also illegal to cross state lines with marijuana because it is federally illegal. Out-of-state visitors are subject to the 3-ounce possession maximum.