The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was passed in 2021, and it established the regulations for cannabis commerce in New York. The Act legalized the cultivation of recreational cannabis in the state but empowered local municipal authorities to opt out of permitting cannabis sales in their jurisdictions. The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was also established by the Act to license and regulate all cannabis businesses and establishments in the state. The MRTA also made it legal for licensed entities to operate cannabis cultivation facilities in all territories in the state.
The MRTA allows adults (21 years and older) to cultivate up to three mature and three immature cannabis plants, at a time, for personal use in their private residences. This allows any adult of legal age to cultivate cannabis in their home, provided the plants are not visible from a public place. Local municipal authorities cannot opt out of allowing cannabis cultivation facilities, duly licensed by the OCM, to operate in their jurisdictions. As such, it is legal to cultivate cannabis in Nassau County.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) makes it legal to manufacture cannabis products in New York State, including Nassau County. The Act also does not allow local municipal authorities to opt out of permitting cannabis manufacturing businesses in their jurisdictions. Accordingly, the manufacture of cannabis products by duly licensed cannabis manufacturers is legal in Nassau County.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) empowers local municipal authorities in the state to opt-out of permitting retail marijuana establishments in their jurisdictions. For cannabis businesses to retail adult-use marijuana in Nassau County, their operations must be permitted by the local municipal authorities in the cities and towns where the retail operations will be situated. If a local municipal authority opted out of allowing commercial cannabis sales, then it is illegal to retail adult-use cannabis in that jurisdiction. Consequently, it would be legal to cultivate cannabis in towns that opted into allowing marijuana sales in their jurisdictions, such as Southampton and Brookhaven. However, in Long Beach and Glen Cove, it is illegal to establish adult-use retail operations as both cities opted out of allowing recreational marijuana sales in their jurisdictions.
It is legal for licensed cannabis establishments to deliver cannabis to locations in Nassau County. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) legalizes cannabis deliveries to eligible persons in New York by licensed cannabis delivery establishments. Local municipal authorities cannot prohibit the legal delivery of cannabis and cannabis products in their jurisdictions. Therefore, licensed cannabis delivery businesses are able to deliver cannabis to locations in Nassau County, even if the local municipal authorities in these jurisdictions have outlawed cannabis sales.
New York initially legalized medical marijuana in 2014, but the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in 2021 amended the medical marijuana statutes in the state. The MRTA made it legal for registered patients in the New York Medical Marijuana Program to possess up to a 60-day prescription of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana cards are issued to all eligible patients and their designated caregivers to identify them as participants in the program. To be eligible to register as a patient in the medical marijuana program in Nassau County, the applicant must be at least 18 years old and a legal resident of New York. Patients under 18 years old who wish to register for the program must have designated caregivers who are at least 18 years old. A patient can designate up to five caregivers that may purchase, possess, and administer medical cannabis on their behalf. The caregivers must also be registered with the medical marijuana program to obtain medical marijuana cards.
Patients who wish to register for the New York Medical Marijuana Program must also receive certifications from healthcare practitioners registered with the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Applicants must meet their healthcare practitioners and receive certifications following the diagnosis of their conditions. A healthcare practitioner may be a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner that is duly licensed to practice in New York and registered with the OCM. The amendments to the medical marijuana laws in the MRTA empower healthcare practitioners to determine if patients meet the criteria to qualify for the Program and complete patient certifications accordingly. The attending healthcare practitioner will upload a copy of their patient’s certification to the Medical Cannabis Data Management System for final approval and provide the patient with a printed and signed copy.
Applicants to the New York Medical Marijuana Program must create their user accounts and complete their applications online. Instructions on the registration process for patients and caregivers are available from the OCM, as well as the list of acceptable IDs and documentation requirements. If the OCM approves a patient’s application, a digital registry ID card, valid for 30 days, is made available to print for temporary use by the patient. The permanent medical cannabis registry ID card will be mailed to the patient or caregiver within 7 - 10 working days.
Healthcare practitioner certifications in the Medical Cannabis Data Management System are valid for 12 months, after which practitioners must extend them to remain certified. A patient’s medical cannabis card remains valid as long as there is an active certification for the patient from the healthcare provider in the database.
Adult-use cannabis became legal in Nassau County in 2021, and, as such, there are no official records on the revenues generated by cannabis businesses in its jurisdiction. The MRTA allows local municipal authorities that permit cannabis sales in their jurisdictions to charge up to a 4% local excise tax on cannabis and cannabis products.
Adult-use cannabis has been legal in Nassau County since 2021 and there are no records available on marijuana-related crime rates for the year yet. However, in 2020, the year prior to the passage of the MRTA, there were a total of 1,490 arrests for marijuana-related crimes: 1,488 for possession and 2 for sales/manufacture, by the Nassau County Police Department. This represented a 54.1% drop in arrest numbers for possession and an 86.7% drop in recorded arrests for sales/manufacture from 2019. In Nassau County, the arrest numbers provided by Nassau County P.D. for Driving Under the Influence (DUIs) between 2019 and 2020, fell by 468 (-46.2%).
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) decriminalized several low-level violations and misdemeanors and all convictions for marijuana offenses related to these charges will be expunged within two years. Consequently, there are fewer marijuana-related offenses in the Nassau County criminal statutes, and this will result in fewer arrests and a reduction in crime rates.