Yes, growing cannabis is legal in Orange County. New York State legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2016. On the other hand, adult-use or recreational cannabis was legalized when the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law in 2021.
Orange County residents aged 21 or older may grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal use. A total of six mature and six immature plants may be grown at a maximum per household. However, in line with the MRTA, home cultivation will only be allowed after the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) develops regulations for home cultivation, which will be 18 months after the first adult-use retail sale.
Since October 5, 2022, certified patients and their designated caregivers registered in the Medical Cannabis Program and at least 21 years old may grow cannabis at home for the patient’s personal use. However, only one person can grow on behalf of the patient – either themself or their designated caregiver. Cannabis may be grown indoors or outdoors as long as it is not easily visible and accessible to the public. As a general rule, these should be followed when growing marijuana for medical use:
Homegrown plants are for personal use and cannot be sold to anybody.
For homes with one certified patient, a maximum of three mature and three immature female plants may be grown.
Six mature and six immature female plants may be grown for homes with two or more certified patients.
Designated caregivers may grow for a maximum of four patients. Although they may grow up to 6 plants per patient, they cannot grow more than 12 plants simultaneously.
Plants must be stored in a safe location and out of reach of anybody under the age of 21.
Compressed gas solvents like propane or butane may not be used to process or extract plants.
The OCM issues licenses for businesses involved in adult-use, medical, and cannabinoid hemp industries. According to Article 4 Section 68 of New York’s Cannabis Law, cultivation may refer to the agricultural production practices of planting, growing, cloning, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, and trimming cannabis. Businesses granted adult-use cultivator's licenses are allowed to acquire, possess, distribute, cultivate, and sell cannabis to duly licensed processors in this State. In February 2022, S.8084-A/A.9283-A was signed into law, creating a new Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License. This authorizes eligible hemp growers to grow cannabis containing over 0.3% THC for the adult-use cannabis market.
Yes. Adult-use processor licensees are allowed to acquire, possess, process, and sell cannabis from the premises of the licensed adult-use cultivator to other licensed processors or distributors. Cannabis manufacturing or processing may include activities related to the blending, extraction, infusion, packaging, labeling, and branding of cannabis products.
A cannabinoid hemp processor license is required for businesses under the Cannabinoid Hemp Program, which are involved in processing cannabinoid hemp or hemp extract used for human consumption. Currently, two businesses in Orange County are granted this license – one with a Manufacturing Only License and the other with an Extracting and Manufacturing License. Businesses with a cannabinoid hemp processor license are also allowed to apply for an adult-use conditional processor license. This further allows them to process adult-use products in the Adult-Use Program.
The following are some of the requirements set by the Cannabis Control Board for Adult-Use Conditional Processors and Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators to follow when packaging and labeling cannabis products:
Each retail package must enclose the product, be tamper-evident, and be child-resistant.
Packaging should not be attractive to individuals under twenty-one. Cartoons, bright colors, and bubble-type or cartoon-type fonts, among others, should not be used in the packages.
The minimum font size for required labeling text is six. Texts should be clearly written or printed in the English language.
As of October 2022, there are no legal retail dispensaries for adult-use cannabis in Orange County. However, the Cannabis Control Board directed the OCM in July 2022 to develop regulations for a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) License. CAURD License holders will be the State’s first adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries.
On the other hand, certified patients aged 18 and above or their designated caregivers are able to access cannabis products through a registered organization's dispensing facility. Orange County has two registered organizations that offer flowers, vaporizers, edibles, tinctures, and accessories.
Patients must bring their registry ID card and their certification when purchasing from a dispensing facility. Meanwhile, designated caregivers must present their caregiver registry identification card and their patient’s certification when purchasing medical cannabis for their patients. A 60-day supply is set as the maximum quantity that may be bought from dispensaries.
Yes. Both registered organizations in Orange County offer home delivery of medical cannabis products for certified patients. For adult-use cannabis, CAURD License holders may also be allowed to deliver products to customers once available.
Orange County residents may get a medical marijuana card by obtaining a medical practitioner certification. Patients may be certified if they have any of the following conditions:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Nervous tissue damage in the spinal cord with an indication of intractable spasticity
Inflammatory bowel disease
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Pain that degrades overall health with medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids
Substance use disorder
Any other condition certified by the practitioner
Afterwhich, certified patients may register online by logging in to my.ny.gov, clicking on the “Health Applications” tile, then the “Medical Cannabis Data Management System (MCDMS)” link, and the “Start New Registration” button. For the registration of designated caregivers, they should be listed as the patient's caregiver, and the patient’s registration must first be approved. Proof of residence and identity will be asked from patients during registration. Once the application has been accepted, a registry ID card will be mailed to the patient or their designated caregiver. A temporary registration ID card may be printed immediately to purchase medical cannabis products.
For any questions regarding the Medical Cannabis Program, the OCM may be reached via call at 844-863-9312 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MRTA imposes taxes on the distributor and retail customers of adult-use cannabis. The tax paid by the distributor is determined by the product’s THC content: cannabis flower at $0.005 per milligram, cannabis concentrate at $0.008 per milligram, and edible cannabis products at $0.03 per milligram. For retail sales, a 13% tax is imposed on the products – 9% goes to the State, while 4% goes to the county.
Medical cannabis, on the other hand, has a 7% excise tax on the gross receipts sold by a registered organization to a certified patient or designated caregiver. The imposed tax may not be added to the price of the product paid for by the customer.
In line with the full implementation of the MRTA, it is projected that the State will receive $360 million in annual revenue and $75 million for local governments, including Orange County. All revenue collected will be allocated to the State Lottery Fund (40%) and the Cannabis Revenue Fund, with two sub-funds, namely the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund (40%) and the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund (20%).
Medical marijuana became legal in Orange County since the New York State legalized its use in 2016. Adult use, on the other hand, was legalized only five years later. According to the available report of Orange County Sheriff’s Office on the FBI Crime Data Explorer, marijuana possession offenses in the county have significantly decreased since its legalization – from 437 arrests in 2014 to one in 2020.