How to get a medical marijuana card in New York

What is an MMJ Card in New York?

In New York, medical marijuana (MMJ) cards are state-issued forms of identification given to patients and caregivers registered in the state's medical-marijuana program. MMJ cardholders per the New York Compassionate Care Act are allowed to legally possess and purchase regulated amounts of cannabis for medical purposes. These purposes include the treatment of several state-approved debilitating medical conditions. Patients must have a licensed practitioner certification that validates they have a state-approved debilitating medication condition to qualify for an MMJ card. Although marijuana is still illegal under the Federal Controlled Substance Act, The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act(MRTA) legalized marijuana use by adults aged 21 years or older in New York.

The state's medical marijuana program is run by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the department is responsible for issuing medical marijuana cards. The NYSDOH statistics as of June 1, 2021 estimate over 151,198 registered medical marijuana patients and around 3,248 registered practitioners in New York.

Who Can Apply for an MMJ Card in New York?

Both residents and non-residents are allowed to apply for New York medical marijuana cards. New York state residents would need to attest to their residency by providing the identification number on their state-issued driver's license or non-driver identification card. Other documents are required by the New York State Department of Health for MMJ card approval.

Non-residents would need to prove that they are currently receiving treatment in New York by providing proof of their temporary residence In New York. These proofs of a non-resident's temporary residence In New York include and are not limited to one of the following documents;

  • A copy of a lease
  • A utility bill
  • A hospital bill

Note that both state and non-state residents would need to be at least 18years old and must be diagnosed with any of the New York state-approved debilitating medical conditions. Applicant's of a New York state MMJ card may still be declined if;

  • They submit incomplete information on their applications.
  • They provide false information on their MMJ applications which is punishable under section 210.45 of New York's penalty law.

Can a Minor Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card in New York?

Yes, in New York minors (persons under 18 years) can register as patients in the NYS medical marijuana program and obtain a medical marijuana card, given that they have been certified to have any of the state's qualifying conditions by a registered practitioner. A minor's application for a medical marijuana card would have to be submitted by an adult (persons 21 years or older) acting as the minor caregiver. New York state medical marijuana program allows minors to be designated a maximum of two caregivers to help in registering these minors as patients and in obtaining their medical marijuana card.

What Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana Cards in New York?

In New York, conditions that qualify state residents for medical marijuana cards are limited to debilitating or life-threatening conditions which include;

  • Cancer
  • HIV infection or AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury with spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Huntington's disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Chronic pain with documented medical evidence of having lasted more than 3 months or is anticipated to last more than three months, degrades a patient's health and negatively affects their ability to function, given that conventional treatment produces intolerable side effects or has been deemed ineffective in treating the condition by a practitioner as stipulated in section 1004.2 of Title 10 of the New York Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR).

It's important to note that these life-threatening and debilitating medical conditions must be associated with or have one of the following symptoms;

  • Cachexia syndrome
  • Severe pain
  • Severe nausea, seizures, or persistent muscle spasms
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Opioid use disorder

How do I Apply for an MMJ Card in New York?

In New York, medical marijuana card registration is strictly made online, through the NY.gov ID portal. Patients with any of the state-approved debilitating medical conditions would have to consult with a registered practitioner to obtain a signed practitioner certificate that attests to these applicants' medical conditions. The New York State Department of Health's public list of consenting registered practitioners can be used by patients to find registered practitioners and obtain their certifications. After obtaining these certifications, certified patients can log in to the NY.gov ID portal and complete their New York medical marijuana card application.

How does a Primary Caregiver get a New York MMIC?

To get a New York medical marijuana identification card (MMIC), a caregiver is required to be designated by a certified patient within the state medical marijuana data management system (MMDMS) during or after their registration. After being designated caregivers would need to;

  • Login to NY.gov ID portal, caregivers without accounts would have to create a new one on the portal.

  • After successfully login, click on the "Health Application" icon then click on the MMDMS link.

  • Enter all required information which includes your first name, last name, date of birth, and NYS DMV ID. Note that the NYS DMV ID input field can be filled with the ID number of either an NYS driver's license or a non-driver ID card.

  • Select "register/view my patients", this would lead to you a page that shows all patients associated with the caregiver who has completed their registration.

  • Under each patient, caregivers are given the options to either "accept designation & register" or "decline designation".

  • If the caregiver chooses to accept the patient's designation, they would be led to a web page containing a form. Some text fields in the form would be prefilled with the registration information of both the caregiver and their certified patient. The caregivers' phone number and email address field would be empty and caregivers are required to fill in their information adequately. Ensure that your address provided is correct. NYSDOH can be emailed at mmp@health.ny.gov to make corrections.

  • After reading the "acknowledgments" caregivers would need to answer whether the photos on either their NYS driver's license or non-driver ID are a true likeness of themselves. If the photo is not a true likeness, applicants are required to upload a new photo, then click on the "submit registration" button.

  • Once submitted a pop-up message would be displayed with the caregiver's registration status. Applications are approved almost instantly and a temporal registry ID card is issued, these cards are accessed by clicking the blue hyperlinked TempCard. Then, click on either open or save (depending on the browser) to open and print the document (temporal registry ID card). These cards are valid for 30 days from the caregiver's approval date. Along with government-issued photo identification, caregiver's temporal registry ID cards can be used to purchase medical marijuana products from dispensaries in New York. Caregivers can expect to receive their MMIC cards within seven to ten working days from their application submission date.

Caregivers who upload documents or a new photo during their application process would have their application reviewed by the NYSDOH, as such their application status would be "pending". On approval, they can access their temporal ID by logging back into the portal and clicking the three white lines on the top left corner.

How long does it take to get a New York MMIC?

Seven to ten business days after successfully submitting applications, both registered caregivers and certified patients are issued temporary IDs via the NY.gov ID portal. These temporary IDs along with any government-issued photo identification such as a valid NYS driver's license can be used to purchase marijuana and marijuana products from dispensaries within the state. Temporary IDs are valid for 30days. The NYSDOH uses the first seven to ten business days to process certified patients and caregivers applications. On approval, cards are issued by mail to applicants.

Getting a New York Medical Marijuana Card Online

In New York, both certified patients can register in the state's medical marijuana program online via the NY.gov ID portal. Through this portal, certified patients approved by the NYSDOH are also issued a New York medical marijuana card. The following steps apply to certified patients in registering for a New York MMJ card;

  • Login to the NY.gov ID portal with your user ID and password, applicants that do not have an account can create one on the portal.

  • Once logged in, scroll toward the end of the page and click the "health application" grid.

  • Click on the "Medical Marijuana Data Management System" (MMDMS) link and select "patient" as your role.

  • Fill in all required patient information, including your first name, last name, date of birth(DOB), zip code, and certification number then click "next".

How Much does a Medical Marijuana Card Cost in New York?

In New York, both designated caregivers and certified patients' medical marijuana applications cost $50 according to the Compassionate Care Act. These fees are currently being waived by the NYSDOH making medical marijuana card registrations currently free in New York.

Note that, your DOB is entered in MM/DD/YYYY format and your certification number must be entered starting with "PC1-'' then the certificate number without spacing. Your certification number is found at the top right corner of your practitioner certification. Note that all filled patient information must match the information on your certification. Certified patients can contact the state's Department of Health at mmp@health.ny.gov if any information on their certification is incorrect. Certified patients would also be required to submit their certification number along with the incorrect information.

  • Select "register/view my registrations", then click on the "start registration" button.

  • Fill in the nine-digit ID number of either your NYS driver's license or a non-driver ID card in the "NYS DMV ID" input field under the patient information form. The "residence address" input field would be pre-filled with the home address applicants provided in their practitioner certification. If your home address is incorrect applicants would need to upload their proof of residency in New York. Applicants may need to provide their mailing address if such addresses are different from their residential address.

  • Click on the "what supporting documents do I need?" link.

  • Click on "new document", then click on "choose a value" and select proof of residency. Upload your proof of NYS residency which includes your current lease agreement, utility bill, mortgage statement of the last two months, or NYS ID card. Repeat the process and upload all other required information.

  • Upload your photo for validation only if it has not been uploaded already. The "Photograph Status" column is used to check your photo verification status. Note that your photo would be sent to your practitioner for validation.

Patients may opt to designate a maximum of two caregivers by clicking on the "add caregiver" button. A pop-up form would be displayed requesting the caregiver's information. This information includes the designated caregiver's first name, last name, date of birth, NYS DMV ID number, street address, city, and zip codes.

  • Read the "acknowledgments" and answer "Y" or "N" to whether the photo on your NYS ID is a true likeness of you. If "N" you would need to upload a new photo.

  • Finally, click on the "Submit Registration" button. Note that the button would be grayed and inactive if any required input field is empty.

After successfully submitting your registration a pop-up message would display with your application status. Approved certified patients would be led to a page with their temporary ID card. Click on the blue hyperlinked TempCard and then click on either save or open depending on your browser to open and print your temporary MMJ card.

How Do I Renew My Medical Marijuana Card?

New York medical marijuana cards only expire when the issued practitioner certification expires. On expiry patients and caregivers would have to consult with a registered practitioner to ascertain if their debilitating condition can still benefit from medical marijuana treatment. New certifications are then issued to qualifying patients. Patients and caregivers would have to re-register with the state medical marijuana program to obtain new medical marijuana cards.

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a Medical Cannabis Card in New York?

For patient registration all of the following documents are required;

  • A New York state's registered practitioner signed certification.
  • A photo ID, which refers to either your NYS driver's license or a non-driver ID card.
  • Evidence of their residency in New York. This evidence includes your current utility bill, current lease agreement, NYC ID card, or Social Security Administration official correspondence.

Are my Details Kept Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in New York?

Yes, New York bill A06357 exempts medical marijuana cardholders' information from disclosure and requires the NYSDOH medical marijuana program to maintain a confidential list of registered cardholders. The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) also protects sensitive medical information of patients from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge. This health information also includes patient details submitted during medical marijuana card registration. The HIPAA is a federal law and the act sets the national standard for patients' health care information protection.

What Information appears on a New York Medical Marijuana Card?

Patients and caregivers information found on a New York medical marijuana card includes the following;

  • The full patient or caregivers name
  • The date of birth of the patient or caregiver
  • Their home address
  • The date the card was issued
  • The card-owners role, which indicates whether they are patients or caregivers

Can Someone Track me Down through the New York Registry?

No, New York health care registries are protected under HIPAA and third-party access to your healthcare information or use of these pieces of information to track you is prohibited. New York state laws also dictate that the New York State Department of Health registries used in registering NYS medical marijuana cardholders remain confidential.

New York Marijuana MMJ Card