The State of New York legalized the medical and adult use of marijuana in 2016 and 2021, respectively. Following the approval of the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in 2021, the personal cultivation of marijuana is also now permitted in Niagara County.
All certified patients and their designated caregivers aged 21 or older registered in the Medical Cannabis Program have been allowed to cultivate medical marijuana in their primary residence since October 5, 2022. Cultivation may be done outdoors as long as it is not visible and accessible to the public. A limit of three mature and three immature female plants may be grown per residence with one patient. If two or more certified patients reside in the same house, six mature and six immature female plants may be grown. Only one person, the patient or the designated caregiver, may cultivate medical marijuana on behalf of the patient. While designated caregivers may cultivate for a maximum of four patients, they may not simultaneously cultivate more than 12 plants. All homegrown marijuana may not be sold.
On the other hand, adult-use marijuana may be grown by Niagara County residents who are at least 21 years old. However, this will only be possible 18 months after the first retail sale of adult-use marijuana. They are allowed to grow three mature plants and three immature plants or a maximum of six mature and six immature plants per residence.
In terms of commercial cultivation, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) grants licenses to establishments involved in marijuana cultivation. Their activities may involve planting, growing, cloning, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, and trimming marijuana. Furthermore, establishments with adult-use cultivator's licenses may acquire, possess, distribute, cultivate, and sell marijuana to licensed processors.
Yes, Niagara County allows the manufacturing of medical and adult-use marijuana following Article 3 Section 34 and Article 4 Section 69 of New York’s Cannabis Law. Registered organizations in a secured facility such as a greenhouse may only manufacture medical marijuana. On the other hand, an adult-use processor license is granted to establishments to process adult-use marijuana which may involve blending, extracting, infusing, packaging, labeling, and branding marijuana products containing over 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
As of December 2022, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) developed packaging and labeling requirements for marijuana products. Retail packaging must not be made of plastic unless it contains a minimum of 25% post-consumer recycled content. All labels must have a minimum font size of six and be printed in English. Packaging must enclose the product and be both child- and tamper-resistant. Furthermore, all products should be properly sealed to avoid light and other contaminants that can potentially harm the product during storage. Lastly, packaging should not be attractive to individuals aged 20 or younger. Hence, cartoons, bright colors, and cartoon-type fonts may not be used.
There are no operational marijuana retail dispensaries in Niagara County, although retail dispensaries for medical and adult use are legal in the state. As of February 2023, the state has 40 retail organizations dispensing medical marijuana and four adult-use dispensaries. Moreover, nine towns in Niagara County may not have any adult-use marijuana dispensaries in the future as they opted out of allowing adult-use marijuana dispensaries to operate within their jurisdictions.
Niagara County residents may purchase a 60-day supply of marijuana products such as edibles, flowers, vaporizers, and tinctures from nearby counties. Certified patients at least 18 years old must bring their registry ID card and certification when purchasing medical marijuana. For designated caregivers, their caregiver registry ID card must be presented with their patient’s certification. Meanwhile, adult-use marijuana may only be dispensed to Niagara County residents who are at least 21 years old.
The State of New York allows the delivery of medical and adult-use marijuana throughout the state, although it would depend on dispensaries if they offer this service. Certified patients from Niagara County and its adult residents may inquire from nearby dispensaries if they may avail of delivery services.
All deliveries may only be done if the delivery personnel has the following items with them: a copy of the invoice or another document showing the consignor’s name and address, the consignee’s name and address, the shipment date, and the quantity and kind of products being delivered.
Becoming a certified medical marijuana patient in Niagara County generally involves three steps: 1) Get certified, 2) Register online, and 3) Purchase medical marijuana.
To get certified, patients must visit any of the 11 Medical Cannabis Program Practitioners around the county. They must also have any of the following qualifying conditions as stated in the MRTA: cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord nervous tissue damage with an indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, Alzheimer's disease, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, rheumatoid arthritis, and autism.
Patients must prepare a proof of residence and identity, then register online by logging in to my.ny.gov to finish their application. Designated caregivers may be registered after the approval of the patient’s registration. After a successful application, the registry ID card will be mailed to applicants. A temporary registration ID card may be printed from the website to purchase medical marijuana products immediately.
For inquiries, Niagara County residents may call the OCM at 844-863-9312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the laws and regulations implemented by the State of New York, tax is imposed on the distributors and consumers of medical and adult-use marijuana in Niagara County. Forty percent of the revenue collected throughout the state is allocated to the State Lottery Fund. In contrast, the remaining 60% is assigned to the Cannabis Revenue Fund – Community Grants Reinvestment Fund (40%) and Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund (20%).
A 7% excise tax is imposed on medical cannabis on the gross receipts sold by registered organizations. This may not be added to the price paid for by the customer. For adult-use marijuana, distributors pay a tax depending on the product’s THC content. Cannabis flower is priced at $0.005 per milligram, cannabis concentrate at $0.008 per milligram, and edible cannabis products at $0.03 per milligram. Meanwhile, retail sales are taxed at 13%, where 9% goes to the State, and 4% goes to the county.
Crime rates related to marijuana in Niagara County significantly decreased when the state legalized its medical use in 2016 and its adult use in 2021. Based on the available report of Niagara County Sheriff’s Office on the FBI Crime Data Explorer, marijuana possession offenses in the county reduced from 47 in 2015 to none in 2021. Additionally, arrests for marijuana drug sale offenses remained at zero from 2015 to 2021.