Onondaga County Cannabis – Is It Legal & Where To Buy 2024

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Onondaga County?

Yes, growing cannabis is legal in Onondaga County. New York legalized medical cannabis in 2014 and adult-use cannabis in 2021. For cannabis businesses, the Cannabis Control Board regulates the licensing and approval of cannabis growers in New York. The Board also establishes regulations to allow licensed adult-use growers to carry out minimal cannabis processing of various types without requiring an adult-use cannabis processing license. Additionally, Section 68 of the MRTA states that cannabis cultivation must include the agricultural production practices of planting, harvesting, growing, cloning, curing, sorting, and trimming cannabis. Section 68 also states that those who hold an adult grower license may also apply for a processor license and a distributor license to sell their produce.

The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) currently disallows growing cannabis at home unless the retail sale of adult-use cannabis starts. The Office of Cannabis Management can only approve and enact regulations for home cultivation of cannabis plants within 18 months of the first retail sale of adult-use cannabis. At this time, only medical marijuana is available for sale and no retail sale of adult-use cannabis has commenced in New York. In addition, the Office of Cannabis Management has not yet issued regulations permitting the home cultivation of adult-use cannabis.

If the retail sale of adult-use cannabis finally starts, residents in New York will be allowed to grow cannabis at home 18 months after the retail sales commence. They can grow cannabis at home if they are 21 or older, according to the New York Office of Cannabis Management. Adult residents can grow up to 6 plants (3 mature and 3 immature) in their households for personal use, with a maximum of twelve plants (6 mature and 6 immature) per dwelling unit. Cultivators can grow cannabis both outdoors and in greenhouses.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Onondaga County?

Yes, cannabis manufacturing is allowed in Onondaga County. Licensed processors or manufacturers are prohibited from cultivating cannabis, but they can purchase cannabis from licensed adult-use cultivators. They are also allowed to sell cannabis, cannabis-related products, and cannabis extracts between licensed processors/ manufacturers. It is strictly prohibited to package, manufacture, or label cannabis products in a manner that appeals to persons under the age of 21.

Cannabis may not be manufactured in the form of public figures, images, symbols, characters, toys, games, or phrases that are common to minors. In addition, edible cannabis may not be manufactured, packaged, or produced in the imitation of foods, sodas, cereals, beverages, candies, or cookies that are associated with or appealing to persons under the age of 21.

Pursuant to Section 70 of MRTA, cannabis processing or manufacturing consists of infusing, extracting, blending, packaging, labeling, branding, and preparing cannabis products. A person holding a cannabis processor's license is authorized to apply for and use a distributor's license to distribute their own products.

To be eligible for Adult-Use Conditional Processor License, applicants are to submit these requirements:

• Primary contact information

• Primary address and business vicinity plan

• Overview of processor business plan

• Proof of a legitimate certificate of occupancy

• Planned supply of Cannabis

• Extraction method (if applicable)

• Workers compensation verification (if applicable)

• Disclosure of every other business in the processing facility vicinity (if applicable)

• Ownership and management details

• Applicant agreement and attestation to the license's conditions

• Proof of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audit of all the processing centers

• A non-refundable license and alertness price of $2,000

• Documentation that proves the applicant is permitted to process or manufacture cannabinoid hemp by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM)

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Onondaga County?

Yes. However, only medical cannabis dispensaries are operational as of now. In August 2022, the State of New York accepted applications for retail adult-use cannabis licenses. Once the Cannabis Control Board approves the licenses, the adult-use retail dispensaries will be authorized to possess, acquire, sell, and deliver cannabis to consumers aged 21 and above. Adults over the age of 21 can own 3 oz. cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate.

Cannabis edibles are legal for sale in New York. Other types of cannabis products that are approved for sale include oils, lozenges, cannabis concentrates, cannabis flowers, topical products, transdermal patches, oral sprays, and oral powders.

Cannabis may also be used in private homes or anywhere tobacco may be used, with the exception of federal property, automobiles, private businesses (such as restaurant patios), or "cigar bars." Also, sharing cannabis with an adult over the age of 21 is allowed within legal possession limits.

For cannabis retail dispensary applicants, there are two types of eligibility criteria: qualifying non-profit criteria or qualifying business criteria.

  1. Applicants for qualifying non-profit criteria must have:
  • A significant presence in New York State

  • At least five full-time employees

  • A history of providing career opportunities to persons previously or currently incarcerated, including justice-involved individuals (justice-involved persons are persons or their dependents who have been convicted of a cannabis-related offense in New York before March 3, 2021)

  • A history of service to those previously or currently incarcerated, such as justice-involved individuals

  • At least one justice-involved officer, advising committee member, governing committee member, or board member

  • Operated a social enterprise that has been generating profit or net assets for at least two years and is operated or sponsored by a non-profit organization that generates income and fulfills the mission of the parent organization

  1. Meanwhile, applicants must meet the following requirements to be accepted as qualifying business criteria:
  • Significant presence in New York state

  • The majority of the retail dispensaries are owned and managed by a justice-involved person with qualifying entrepreneurial experience

  • Applicants must be 21 years old, including all board members

  • All members or affiliates of the LLC or partnership must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Onondaga County?

Yes. Direct deliveries of cannabis to the residences of consumers by retail licensees or delivery licensees are permitted. According to Section 31 of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), cannabis delivery is also permitted to medical marijuana patients with ID cards, their designated caregivers, or employees of care facilities, given that the cannabis in possession must not exceed a 60-day supply at doses and forms prescribed by their health care practitioners.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Onondaga County

To apply to become a certified medical cannabis patient in New York, follow these three steps:

  • Check with your certified doctor to see if medical cannabis can help your health. In this case, your healthcare provider will give you a certificate authorizing the use of medical cannabis for your condition. Note that healthcare providers must meet certain requirements to qualify their patients.

  • Register online. Once you have created your account, confirmed your registration, and have your application approved, a medical marijuana card will be mailed to you. You can also print out a temporary registration card and use it immediately if the medical marijuana card hasn't arrived yet.

  • Buy medical cannabis. After receiving your medical marijuana ID card, you can visit the registered organization's cannabis dispensary to purchase medical cannabis. Don't forget to bring your ID card and certification.

For patients to qualify for medical marijuana card, the following health conditions must be diagnosed:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Cancer

  • Neuropathies

  • Spinal cord nervous tissue damage with a neurological indication of intractable spasticity

  • Epilepsy

  • Huntington's disease

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Autism

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • Alzheimer's

  • Dystonia

  • Pain that limits functional capability and medical marijuana can be an alternative to opioid use

  • Substance use disorder

  • Any other health condition as indicated by the registered medical practitioner

If you have any questions, you may also mail or contact:

Office of Cannabis Management

W. Averell Harriman State Office Building Campus

Building 9, Albany, NY 12226

Phone: 1-888-OCM-5151 (1-888-626-5151)

Email: info@ocm.ny.gov.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Onondaga County?

The recent legalization of cannabis for adult-use in New York is estimated to generate $1.3 billion in sales in its first year, and lawmakers believe it will create 19,000 to 24,000 jobs in its first three years. This shows that the cannabis industry has a significant economic impact on the state.

Furthermore, the Marijuana Regulation Tax Act (MRTA) invests 40% of adult cannabis tax revenues in rebuilding drug-affected communities and 50% of the license to social and economic equity applicants. Applicants for social and economic equity are those who lived in drug-affected communities and underrepresented groups such as veteran-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, and distressed farmers.

Different tax rates are charged at the cannabis distributor level, depending on the total THC of the product and the form of the cannabis product:

  • Edibles (food and beverages) – taxed at $0.03 per milligram of THC

  • Cannabis flowers (pre-rolls, loose flowers, shakes) – taxed at $0.005 per milligram of THC

  • Concentrates (wax, vaping oil, shatter, and resin) – taxed at $0.008 per milligram of THC

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Onondaga County

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office's records from the FBI crime database show that DUI arrests in the county between 2019 and 2020 decreased from 290 to 249 cases. On the other hand, drug possession arrests in the county from 2019 to 2020 also decreased from 420 to 271.

Note that the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state of New York began in 2021. However, 2020 is the most recent crime report found in the FBI database.

In this section:
New York Cannabis County Info