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

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Rensselaer County?

Yes. Adult-use cannabis and medical cannabis are allowed in Rensselaer County pursuant to the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).

Certified patients and designated caregivers registered in the Medical Cannabis Program may grow cannabis at home for patients’ personal use. The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) provided a Medical Cannabis Home Cultivation Guide for patients and caregivers who wish to cultivate cannabis at home. One certified patient at home may grow 3 mature and 3 immature female plants. If two or more certified patients are in a home, they may grow up to 6 mature and 6 immature female plants only.

Patients and caregivers aged 21 and above can only grow cannabis in their private residences, whether owned or rented. Medical cannabis can be legally grown inside or outside the patient or caregiver’s private residence. Certified patients cannot designate more than one caregiver to grow cannabis on their behalf. Neither can patients grow cannabis plants for themselves and have their caregivers also grow it for them. It shall be illegal to sell or barter homegrown medical cannabis to other persons.

As of May 2023, home cultivation for adult-use cannabis is not allowed unless the OCM has provided for its rules and regulations. Once permitted, the rules for medical cannabis home cultivation are similar to adult-use cannabis home cultivation. In addition, making cannabis hash concentrates or oils using substances like propane, butane, or alcohol with homegrown cannabis is illegal.

A licensed Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator is a temporary two-year license that authorizes eligible hemp growers to grow cannabis containing 0.3% THC for the adult-use cannabis market. After two years, if the licensee is still in good standing, it can apply for a standard Adult-Use Cultivator license. Cultivators may grow cannabis in 43,560 square feet of flowering canopy outdoors or in 25,000 square feet of flowering canopy in a greenhouse. Nonetheless, the cultivator may grow cannabis outdoors or in a greenhouse, provided the area of the flowering canopy outdoors does not exceed 30,000 square feet and the flowering canopy in a greenhouse is not more than 20,000 square feet.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Rensselaer County?

Yes. Cannabis processors extract cannabis, blend, infuse, or otherwise manufacture cannabis concentrate into cannabis products, according to the Cannabis Law. An adult-use processor license permits businesses to acquire, possess, and sell cannabis from cultivators to processors and distributors. Processing cannabis does not include the cultivation of cannabis. Every processed cannabis must be tested by an independent laboratory permitted by the OCM.

Cannabis manufacturing includes the packaging, labeling, and branding of cannabis products. Its packaging design must not appeal to persons under the age of 21. Manufacturers must seal and properly label cannabis products. The labels of medical cannabis products shall contain the following information:

  • Details required to be included in the receipt provided to the patient or caregiver;

  • Packaging date;

  • Any applicable date by which the medical cannabis should be used;

  • A warning stating that the product is for medicinal purposes only is not safe for pregnant women or while breastfeeding, and may impair the ability to drive,

  • Amount of individual doses

  • A warning that the cannabis product must be kept in its original container

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Rensselaer County?

Yes. Registered Organizations may dispense cannabis to adults 21 years old, patients, and caregivers. Recreational users of cannabis may possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate (oil, edibles). Cannabis edible products are intended for human consumption through ingestion and sublingual or oral absorption.

They can consume cannabis in their private homes or most places where residents can consume tobacco. Adults may share cannabis without remuneration with another person who is 21 years old within the legal possession limit.

Meanwhile, registered organizations may dispense up to a 60-day supply of medical cannabis to patients and caregivers, according to a healthcare provider’s recommendations or limitations. Medical cannabis products may come in the form of:

  • Vape cartridges or pens

  • Capsules or tablets

  • Tinctures

  • Oral sprays

  • Oral powder

  • Lozenges

  • Metered ground plant preparation for vaporization

  • Whole-flower cannabis for vaporization

  • Transdermal patches

Seeds and immature cannabis plants for home cultivation are also available for sale by dispensaries.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Rensselaer County?

Yes. Registered organizations may offer home delivery to cannabis consumers and patients. Patients may designate five caregivers who may purchase medical cannabis on their behalf. The registered organization’s dispensing facility shall require the patient’s registry ID or the OCM-approved facility form to be presented for the patient or caregiver to utilize the dispensary’s delivery services.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Rensselaer County

As of March 2023, the OCM does not produce plastic registry ID cards to purchase medical cannabis. Instead, once a patient is certified by their healthcare provider, they are automatically registered in the Medical Cannabis Data Management System (MCDMS). The patient certifications now contain the patient’s registry ID number. Thus, patients shall bring the certification and their government-issued ID to the cannabis dispensaries for purchase. Meanwhile, caregivers shall be issued a Designated Facility Caregiver Registration once their designation has been approved. To know more, the OCM provided a Patient and Caregiver Registry ID Guide.

To be a certified patient, your healthcare provider must verify that medical cannabis is appropriate for your medical condition. The qualifying medical conditions are:

  • Cancer

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Epilepsy

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Neuropathies

  • Huntington's disease

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Pain that degrades functional capability and health where medical cannabis use is an alternative to opioid use

  • Substance use disorder

  • Alzheimer's

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • Dystonia

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Autism

  • Any other medical condition certified by the healthcare provider.

Office of Cannabis Management

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


Medical Cannabis Program

_Phone: 844-863-9312 _


How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Rensselaer County?

The state imposes taxes on adult-use cannabis sales but does not impose these taxes on medical cannabis sales. However, medical cannabis remains subject to the 7% excise tax. The retail sale of adult-use cannabis products is subject to the 9% state excise tax and 4% local excise tax. Tax is also imposed on the distributor level based on the milligrams of total THC in the cannabis product depending on the product form:

  • Edibles - $0.03 per mg of total THC

  • Concentrates - $0.008 per mg of total THC

  • Cannabis flower - $0.005 per mg total THC

Collected cannabis taxes are deposited in the New York state cannabis revenue fund to cover costs in the administration of the cannabis program, support mechanisms for equity applicants, and implementation of the law.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Rensselaer County

Medical cannabis has been legal in New York since 2016, while adult-use cannabis was legalized only in 2021.

According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office reported 16 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in 2015. By 2017 and 2018, this figure gradually increased to 32 and 47 DUI arrests.

Meanwhile, there were 23 arrests for the illegal possession of marijuana in 2015. The number of arrests for the same offense increased to 72 in 2017 but decreased to 42 in 2018. As for the illegal sale/manufacturing of marijuana, no arrests were made from 2015 to 2018.

The latest data reported 24 DUI arrests and 11 illegal possession of marijuana arrests in 2020; none were reported for the illegal sale/manufacturing of marijuana.

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New York Cannabis County Info