Caregivers are persons who assist registered patients under the New York medical marijuana program (MMP) to obtain medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries and administer medical marijuana on behalf of their patients. Minors and adults who cannot visit medical cannabis dispensaries to obtain medical cannabis are authorized to assign caregivers to assist them.
Initially, only individuals may be designated as caregivers. However, in October 2017, the New York State Department of Health(NYSDOH) expanded the scope for medical marijuana caregivers by allowing patients residing at certain care facilities to designate these establishments as caregivers. Facilities that may be designated as caregivers include adult day care facilities, community mental health residences, hospitals, research institutions, mental hygiene facilities, private or public schools, and any other facility as determined by the Cannabis Control Board. Designated caregivers can lawfully possess, purchase, deliver, transport, transfer, and administer medical marijuana to registered patients.
A registered patient may designate up to five caregivers, while a caregiver may serve up to four registered patients under the New York medical marijuana program. Note that it is not mandatory for a facility to be designated as the caregiver for the patients housed within it. Also, there is no limit on the number of patients a designated caregiver facility may serve under the New York MMP.
To be eligible to complete a medical marijuana caregiver registration in New York, you must:
A patient registered under the state medical marijuana program must designate you as a caregiver during their registration process before you can register as a caregiver. Upon the approval of the patient's registration by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), you may commence your registration. To complete the registration process, you must possess a valid DMV ID or a government-issued non-driver ID card. To register as an individual caregiver, you must have a personal MY.NY.gov account. Follow these steps to create an account and register as an individual caregiver:
To register as a designated caregiver facility, an authorized facility representative must complete the Designated Caregiver Facility form. The completed form must be submitted by fax to (518) 474-6353 or by email to email@example.com.
After your registration has been approved, you will be issued a temporary registry identification card which may be used with a government-issued photo ID until the permanent caregiver card arrives in the mail. Allow 7 - 10 business days for your permanent caregiver registry ID card to arrive. For more information on becoming a medical marijuana caregiver in New York, review the caregiver application instructions guide or call the state medical marijuana program at (888) 626-5151.
It is up to a patient to find a facility or individual who will consent to serve as their caregiver. The state only sets the eligibility criteria individuals and facilities must fulfill before they may be designated as caregivers under the New York medical marijuana program. It is recommended that patients select facilities or individuals who are reliable and familiar with their medical conditions.
The New York Compassionate Care Act permits a designated caregiver to possess up to a 60-day supply of medical marijuana for each patient. The 60-day supply must correspond to the recommendation from the patient's certifying physician. A caregiver must always have their medical marijuana registry identification card when buying or transporting cannabis in the state.
Pursuant to the new OCM rules, designated caregivers growing marijuana on behalf of a registered patient may grow up to six marijuana plants for one patient. A caregiver may grow marijuana for up to four certified patients per time, as long as the caregiver does not grow more than a total of 12 marijuana plants. However, these OCM rules only become effective upon the publication of a Notice of Adoption in the New York State Register.
The OCM rules also stipulate that the marijuana growing must occur only on the grounds of private residences of patients or their caregivers. The grow areas must be inaccessible to minors and be not visible from public areas. Pursuant to the new OCM rules, caregivers may possess up to 5 pounds of homegrown marijuana in their private residences or on the grounds of the patients' private residences.