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Yes. Medicinal marijuana was legalized in New York in 2014 under the Compassionate Care Act (CCA). The Act permitted the possession, use, delivery, and administration of medicinal marijuana by qualified patients and designated caregivers. The regulatory authority over the New York medical marijuana program (MMP) is the New York Department of Health, while the program is overseen by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). As of June 1, 2022, New York has 124,352 patients registered under its medical cannabis program.
Note that upon the appointment of the membership of the Cannabis Control Board, the CCA will be repealed from the New York Public Health Law. Subsequently, Article 3 of the new cannabis law will govern the medical use of cannabis in New York.
The New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) no longer lists specific medical conditions qualifying patients for medical cannabis access in the state. Rather, it allows eligible healthcare providers, registered to practice in the state, to certify patients for medical cannabis use after ruling that their conditions are debilitating and could benefit from marijuana treatment.
Patients seeking to join New York’s medical cannabis program can meet certifying healthcare providers using telemedicine services. These providers may then issue them certifications after reviewing their medical records and ruling that their conditions would benefit from marijuana use.
Patients no longer have to register directly with the OCM. Previously, they must submit completed application forms to the OCM in order to be included in the New York State medical cannabis program. Now, a patient is auto-registered in the program when they receive a medical cannabis certification from a qualified healthcare provider in New York. The certification issued will contain their registry ID number. Healthcare providers issuing medical cannabis certifications via telemedicine can be found on the OCM list of certifying healthcare providers.
Yes. To participate in the state’s medical cannabis program, you must be a legal resident of New York.
New York patients do not pay for healthcare certifications for marijuana. However, consultation charges still apply when they visit healthcare providers to obtain their medical marijuana certifications. These fees vary between $150 and $300.
You only need your valid government-issued ID and medical marijuana certification to buy medical cannabis at New York dispensaries. A caregiver ordering at a dispensary must provide their Office of Cannabis Management-issued designated caregiver registry ID and the patient's medical cannabis certification.
To qualify to issue medical cannabis certifications in New York, a healthcare provider must be registered and licensed by New York State to prescribe controlled substances to humans. Eligible healthcare providers include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, podiatrists, dentists, and midwives. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) maintains a list of consenting medical cannabis program practitioners on its website. Patients can find healthcare practitioners qualified to issue medical cannabis certifications by county on the list. Telemedicine healthcare providers are also available on the list.
Note that the list does not include all certifying healthcare practitioners in New York State. Only the practitioners who have consented to be listed publicly are contained in the NYSDOH list. The NYSDOH also allows healthcare practitioners to opt in and opt out of being listed publicly.
Yes. However, a patient under the age of 18 must access medical marijuana in New York through a designated caregiver. A medical marijuana certification must be obtained to attest that the minor suffers from a qualifying condition before they can enroll in the program. The caregiver must accompany the patient to the appointment with the healthcare provider and must be approved to represent the patient by the Office of Cannabis Management. Per OCM rules, the caregiver may be a parent or legal guardian of the patient, a representative authorized by the OCM, an individual authorized by the parent or legal guardian of the patient, or an employee of a caregiver facility.
Any New York resident, aged 18 or older and diagnosed with a qualifying condition, can obtain a medical marijuana certification, which is required to purchase medical cannabis legally in the state.
To extend your medical cannabis program registration in New York, simply contact your healthcare practitioner to extend the expiration on your current certification. You do not need to re-register if the medical provider renews your registration before it expires.
Registered medical marijuana patients aged 21 or older may grow marijuana at home for medical use. Designated caregivers over the age of 21, registered under the medical cannabis program and designated by qualified patients younger than 21 who have cognitive or physical impairments preventing them from growing marijuana, may also grow marijuana for use by their patients. New York permits registered patients under the age of 21 who are unable to grow marijuana on their own to designate one of their caregivers to grow marijuana on their behalf.
According to the Cannabis Control Board regulations, a qualified patient may grow up to three mature and three immature marijuana plants. No more than six mature plants and six immature plants may be grown on or within the grounds of any private residence, regardless of the number of adults living in the household. The regulations prohibit medical marijuana patients from having more than one caregiver growing marijuana on their behalf. If more than one patient has designated an individual as a caregiver, the caregiver may grow one additional plant for each patient above the stipulated limit.
The CCB regulations require marijuana plants to be kept in secure locations and stipulate that growers use protective measures such that neither marijuana plants nor their products are accessible or visible to persons under the age of 21. Hence, cultivation must be conducted in enclosed areas not visible from public areas. Reasonable measures must also be taken to mitigate the odor of cannabis.
Note that the provisions outlined above will only become effective once regulations and changes to the administrative structure of the Department of Health have been developed. Per the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), the medical marijuana program is expected to transition from the New York Department of Health to the Office of Cannabis Management no later than six months after the Cannabis Control Board is appointed. For updates on the CCB appointment and transitioning process, check the New York medical marijuana program website.
Patients with New York medical cannabis registry IDs can purchase up to a 60-day supply of medical marijuana. This amount is higher than the limit placed on recreational cannabis, capped at 85 grams of non-concentrated marijuana or 24 grams of concentrated marijuana products. In addition, medical cannabis products are more affordable than recreational cannabis products owing to the higher tax on adult-use cannabis products.
Yes. The New York medical cannabis program permits certified patients to designate caregivers to help them access medical marijuana. Caregivers are individuals who have agreed, and have been designated by minors or incapacitated adults, to help obtain and administer medical-grade marijuana on their behalf. The state does not assign caregivers to certified patients in New York. It is the responsibility of patients to find and designate medical marijuana caregivers to administer marijuana on their behalf.
New York State does not offer medical marijuana reciprocity to out-of-state patients. Hence, if you are visiting any New York State jurisdiction, you cannot bring your medical marijuana across state lines or purchase medical cannabis in the state with the medical cannabis card issued in your home state.
According to New York medical cannabis laws, medical marijuana records are private and are exempt from public disclosure. Notwithstanding the privacy protection provision, law enforcement may be allowed access to a medical marijuana record under specific conditions, such as when the Department of Health intends to verify to law enforcement personnel whether an individual has a valid New York State medical cannabis registration ID number. New York employers do not have access to medical marijuana records.
Medicaid and other public and commercial health plans do not cover medical marijuana in New York State.
Medical marijuana patients with active medical cannabis certifications are allowed to purchase up to a 60-day supply of marijuana.
Yes. Recreational marijuana buyers only need to present valid government IDs to prove they are 21 or older to buy cannabis. Medical marijuana users certified on or after March 20, 2023, however, must present their medical cannabis certifications and valid government IDs to buy medical cannabis. For those certified before March 20, 2023, they would need their registry ID cards as well as their certifications to buy medical cannabis at New York dispensaries.