Queens County Cannabis Overview

  1. New York Cannabis
  2. Queens County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Queens County?

Yes. Cannabis cultivation is legal in Queens County for persons of legal age under the New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). Queens County residents aged 21 or older may grow up to three immature cannabis plants and three mature cannabis plants at home at any time. Cannabis cultivation is defined under the New York MRTA to include the growing, cloning, harvesting, curing, drying, grinding, and trimming of cannabis plants.

The MRTA permits the cultivation of no more than six mature cannabis plants and six immature cannabis plants within a private residence if more than one adult aged over 21 lives there. The MRTA only permits the personal cultivation of cannabis in private residences and requires that cannabis cultivation areas be located in secured places not accessible to persons under the age of 21. Note that the MRTA allows Queens County and its municipalities to enact and enforce regulations for the cultivation of cannabis within their jurisdictions. Hence, it is recommended that you check any ordinances in your locality impacting the cultivation of cannabis before growing cannabis plants.

Certified caregivers aged 21 or older may cultivate cannabis for medical purposes, according to the Office of Cannabis Management's proposed rules. Certified medical marijuana patients under the age of 21 or those with cognitive or physical limitations may cultivate up to six cannabis plants through their designated carergvers. Such cannabis cultivation is only permitted at the patient's or caregiver's private residence. The OCM rules also permits a caregiver to cultivate one additional cannabis plant for each additional medical cannabis patient if the caregiver has been so designated by more than one certified patient.

Note that although cannabis cultivation has been legalized in New York, the home cultivation of cannabis plants cannot yet begin. Queens County residents may not begin cultivating cannabis at home under the MRTA until the Office of Cannabis Management develops rules governing the home cultivation of cannabis. The rules will be published no later than 18 months after the first retail sale of adult-use cannabis.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Queens County?

Yes. Cannabis processing is legal in Queens County for individuals, registered organizations, and licensed cannabis processors. In New York, cannabis processing includes extracting, preparing, treating, modifying, compounding, manufacturing, or otherwise altering cannabis into concentrates or extracting its cannabinoids into intermediate or final forms for human use. According to the MRTA, recognized organizations that manufacture medicinal cannabis must do so in secure locations in New York State. The facility used may be a greenhouse, and processing must be carried out in accordance with Cannabis Control Board (CCB) laws which will be promulgated. The MRTA requires cannabis products to be manufactured in accordance with the manufacturing practices set forth in Part 111 or Part 117 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

According to the Proposed Regulations of the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), except as otherwise approved by the OCM, no individual may process cannabis at home by means of a liquid or gas other than alcohol with a flash point lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Queens County?

Yes. Queens County authorizes the retail sale of cannabis in compliance with the New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). However, the MRTA prohibits retail dispensaries from being located near schools or religious institutions. Specifically, a cannabis retail establishment may not be situated within 500 feet of a school or 200 feet of a place of worship. Additionally, cannabis retail establishments are prohibited from selling alcoholic drinks. Further restrictions are placed on cannabis marketing materials and advertisements, which are prohibited within 500 feet of playgrounds, daycare providers, school grounds, public parks and libraries. Cannabis advertisement contents are also prohibited in public transit vehicles and stations, on publicly owned land or billboards, and within 500 feet of public transit vehicles and stations.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Queens County?

Cannabis delivery is legal in Queens County. According to the MRTA, cannabis delivery is the direct delivery of cannabis products to a cannabis customer by a cannabis retail licensee, microbusiness licensee, or delivery licensee. Per the MRTA, cannabis delivery services supplying medicinal cannabis to certified patients or caregivers may not deliver more than a 60-day supply to patients except to those who will run out of their prior supply within a week.

The MRTA requires cannabis delivery establishments to verify the ages of the individuals placing cannabis orders. The orders must be delivered to the appropriate persons who must be confirmed not to be visibly inebriated. The MRTA also stipulates that, prior to delivery, cannabis and cannabis products must be packaged in child-resistant, resealable containers and labeled in accordance with applicable regulations. These packages must not be targeted at or made appealing to persons under the age of 21.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Queens County

A medical marijuana card (MMJ) is an identification card that enables the person identified on the card to acquire and use medical marijuana. The New York medicinal marijuana cards obtained by Queens County residents are issued in accordance with the state's medical marijuana legislation. To be qualified to obtain a medicinal marijuana card in Queens County, the applicant must:

  • Be aged 18 or older, or if applying as a minor, have a designated caregiver who is 18 years old or older
  • Reside legally in Queens County or somewhere else in the state. New York State driver’s license or identification card, utility bill, and current lease are valid proofs of residency
  • Have obtained medicinal cannabis certification from a practitioner who is registered with the New York Office of Cannabis Management

The first step to obtaining a medical marijuana card is scheduling an appointment with a medical practitioner who can certify that the applicant qualifies to use medical cannabis and meets the applicable requirements. The medical practitioner may be a New York-licensed nurse, physician assistant, or physician enrolled in the state's medicinal marijuana program. The New York State Public List of Consenting Medicinal Cannabis Program Practitioners allows patients whose physicians are not enrolled with the state's medical marijuana program to locate qualified physicians who can issue valid certification.

During the appointment, the medical practitioner will verify if the patient suffers from one of the state-approved qualifying conditions for medicinal marijuana. If the medical practitioner approves the patient for medical cannabis use, the practitioner will complete a patient certification and send it to the New York Medicinal Cannabis Data Management System for approval. The patient will then get a printed and signed copy of the certification, which will be required later to complete the application online.

To commence the final part of the application online, the applicant must create a my.NY.gov account. During the application process, the candidate will be required to provide supporting documentation, such as proof of residence and the signed medical cannabis certification issued by the physician. After the application has been filed and accepted, the applicant will get a 30-day digital medical cannabis card that may be printed for use during the validity period. The permanent, physical MMJ card usually arrives in the mail within 10 business days.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Queens County?

Although recreational cannabis is legal in Queens County and the rest of New York State, retail sales have not begun as of May 2022. Consequently, there are no official figures for sales and tax revenues accruing to the Queens County government for adult-use cannabis. Even then, the MRTA has established multiple taxes for marijuana businesses in New York. In addition to marijuana business license fees and renewal fees, the state may earn revenue via excise taxes and sales taxes. New York municipalities may also impose further taxes within their jurisdictions.

While the New York State cannabis market has not yet been established, the Office of the New York State Governor's impact assessment study anticipates that the state's legal cannabis program would generate between $3.5 billion and $4.2 billion yearly. The report's financial projections are based on assessments of illicit marijuana sales in New York, where traffickers charge over $250 per ounce for medical-grade cannabis and $340 per ounce for high-grade cannabis.

The 2018 impact assessment study also forecasted a possible tax revenue of over $350 million and the creation of between 30,000 and 60,000 new jobs for New Yorkers. The analysis claimed that the economic benefits associated with a legal marijuana market in the state would extend beyond the cannabis industry into the state’s finance, law, tourism, real estate, construction, and security sectors.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Queens County

The New York State marijuana legalization effect assessment study published in 2018 suggests that violent crime and property crime rates have not gone up since the legalization of medicinal marijuana in the state. This report also supports the premise that retail cannabis sales will not lead to an increase in crime rate in the state when it begins in New York.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, since the legalization of medicinal marijuana in 2014, marijuana-related crime rates in New York have decreased. There were 30,624, 29,334, and 30,102 DUI arrests in 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively. In 2019 and 2020, the state registered 25,364 and 17,422 DUI arrests respectively. Marijuana sales arrests have likewise declined in New York, with arrest statistics of 733 and 633 in 2013 and 2014 declining to 329 and 130 in 2019 and 2020.

Queens County Cannabis Overview