Yes, cannabis cultivation is legal in Saratoga County as stipulated by the March 2021 Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) of the State of New York. This allowed the use of recreational cannabis by adults who are 21 years old and older, amending the earlier law in 2016 in which only medical cannabis was allowed.
Since October 5, 2022, each certified patient aged 21 and older who is a medical marijuana cardholder of the Medical Cannabis Program Registry has been allowed by the Office of Cannabis Management’s (OCM) Medical Cannabis Home Cultivation Guide and Personal Home Cultivation of Medical Cannabis Regulations to possess, plant, grow, gather, dry, and process in their respective private residences up to three mature female cannabis plants and three immature female cannabis plants, as long as the home is not located on federal property. In addition, each patient may possess and process a maximum of five pounds of non-growing usable marijuana. Even if a private residence houses more than one qualified patient, however, there is a cap of six mature and six immature female cannabis plants that can be grown. Local governments of counties and municipalities cannot disallow this.
If a qualified patient cannot grow and process cannabis at home for any reason, the patient’s registered caregiver is authorized to do this for them in the private residence of the caregiver. A patient can ask only one caregiver to do so. A caregiver, however, is allowed to grow and process cannabis at home for up to four patients at the same time, but is only limited to six immature and six mature female cannabis plants,
Qualified patients or caregivers are allowed to do the home growing and processing of marijuana indoors or outdoors. However, the area must not be shared with others and must be protected from unauthorized intrusion especially by minors through physical barriers and locks. Cannabis home growing must also be hidden from public sight.
Homegrown and processed cannabis may not be sold or traded by qualified patients and caregivers. To prevent their plants or products from exceeding the allowed limits, they are allowed to give away a maximum of 24 grams of cannabis concentrate or three ounces of cannabis to a qualified patient who is 21 years old or older or a caregiver. However, they are not allowed to accept anything in return for this.
Any adult in New York aged 21 and older is also allowed by the MRTA to grow and process recreational cannabis at home even if not a patient. However, this will be implemented only once the OCM has completed the regulations on adult-use cannabis home growing 18 months from the first retail sale of recreational cannabis. The first sale of adult-use cannabis in the state of New York was on December 29, 2022.
The MRTA states that adults aged 21 and older will be allowed to grow a maximum of three immature plants and three mature plants in their respective private residences. If a home houses three or more qualified adults, however, there is a cap of six immature plants and six mature plants that can be grown. Once OCM allows the implementation of recreational cannabis home growing, the MRTA prohibits local governments of counties or municipalities to ban it. They may, however, regulate how home growing can be done.
To legally cultivate cannabis commercially, a company is required to apply for an adult-use cultivator license from the OCM. This authorizes the licensee to purchase cannabis seeds and plants and grow, clone, harvest, dry, cure, grade, cut, and sell these to licensed cannabis processors. A licensed cannabis cultivator cannot become a cannabis dispensary license holder.
In February 2022, S.8084-A/A.9283-A established the conditional adult-use cultivator license. This authorizes the licensee not just to cultivate cannabis but also to process cannabis products up to June 30, 2024, and to distribute cannabis and cannabis products up to June 1, 2023. The purpose of this conditional license is to speed up the development of the adult-use cannabis trade.
Yes, cannabis manufacturing is legal in Saratoga County as mandated by New York State’s MRTA.
Certified patients who are 21 years old and older who are growing cannabis at home, and caregivers who are doing so on behalf of patients, are allowed to process their homegrown cannabis in their respective private residences. However, it is forbidden for them to use any liquid or gas with a flashpoint lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or any fuel that is combustible like propane and butane. Furthermore, as a precaution against home fires, alcohol for the extraction of cannabis is not recommended.
After the OCM has crafted the rules for the home growing and processing of adult-use cannabis, adults who are 21 years old and above will also be able to process cannabis at home subject to those regulations.
To legally manufacture cannabis commercially, a company is required to apply for an adult-use processor license from the OCM. This authorizes the licensee to purchase, own, process, package, brand, label, and sell cannabis products to fellow licensed processors or licensed cannabis dispensaries. A licensed cannabis manufacturer is not allowed to hold a cannabis dispensary license.
A conditional adult-use processor license may also be applied for by holders of the Cannabinoid Hemp Program’s cannabinoid hemp processor license. The conditional license authorizes the holder to distribute cannabis and cannabis products up to June 1, 2023, and be a part of the recreational marijuana market.
The packaging and labeling requirements of the Cannabis Control Board that holders of the cannabis cultivator and processor licenses must comply with are as follows:
All marijuana retail packages must follow the Poison Prevention Packaging Standards and Testing Procedure for Special Packaging.
The marijuana retail package must enclose the product completely.
The marijuana retail package must be both childproof and tamper-proof.
The marijuana retail package must not contaminate the product.
The marijuana retail package must protect the product while in storage from light and pollutants.
If the product contained is comprised of several servings, the marijuana retail package must be resealable.
The marijuana retail package must be designed so as not to attract minors. It must not have any similarities to the packaging of commercial products intended for minors. It must not feature bright colors, cartoons, puffy fonts, or holographs. It must not emit scents or make sounds.
The marijuana retail package must be labeled clearly using a 6-point font with the following information:
The product processor’s name, address, license number, and contact information
The unique lot number of the product
The product’s certificate of analysis that is linked through a scannable QR code or bar code
The weight of the product
The number of product servings contained in the package and the serving size
The terpene profile of the product
The total content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other phytocannabinoids by the percentage of volume per serving and for the entire package for non-edible products
The total content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other phytocannabinoids in milligrams per serving and for the entire package for edible products
The nutritional label of edible products
The complete list of ingredients, including major allergens listed by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 highlighted
“Use by” and expiration dates
Instructions on how to use the product
Instructions on how to store the product
Any mandated warnings and images required by the state of New York for cannabis products
Yes, cannabis retail is legal in Saratoga County in compliance with the State of New York’s MRTA. However, all local governments were given by the MRTA up to December 31, 2021, to decide whether they would allow the establishment of adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries within their jurisdictions and allow the consumption of cannabis within such dispensaries. They could opt out of both or just one of the two choices. Local governments that opted out could still change their position at a later time by making a new ordinance.
In Saratoga County, the Towns of Charlton, Clifton Park, Edinburg, Galway, Malta, Moreau, Northumberland, Providence, Wilton, and Day, and the Villages of Galway, Victory, and Waterford opted out of having both medical cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption. Meanwhile, the City of Mechanicville, the Village of Stillwater, and the Towns of Ballston, Halfmoon, Milton, Saratoga, and Waterford only opted out of having medical cannabis consumption sites.
To legally sell cannabis by retail, a company is required to apply for a conditional adult-use retail dispensary license (CAURD) with the OCM. However, the deadline for applications was on September 26, 2021. Of the 36 adult-use retail dispensary licenses first issued on November 21, 2022, only one was operational as of January 2023, based in Manhattan.
For medical cannabis, since 2016, licensed organizations’ dispensing facilities have been permitted to sell only up to a 60-day supply every 60 days to a certified patient who is 18 years old and older or a caregiver, based on the patient’s certification. All forms and types of medical cannabis are allowed, such as dried flowers, vaporizers, tinctures, edibles, and others.
To purchase a dispensing facility, patients are required to show their medical marijuana card and doctor’s certification. Caregivers must present the doctor’s certification of the patient they are purchasing for in addition to their caregiver’s medical marijuana registry card.
The MRTA does not specify the types of cannabis or forms of cannabis products allowed for sale by licensed dispensaries. The law, however, limits legal possession of cannabis for each adult aged 21 and older to not more than 24 grams of cannabis concentrate and three ounces of cannabis in any period. A valid government-issued photo ID must be presented at the licensed retail dispensary before purchasing to verify the consumer’s age.
Yes, cannabis delivery is legal in Saratoga County according to the MRTA of the State of New York. The dispensing facilities of registered organizations are authorized to make medical cannabis deliveries to registered patients and caregivers who are medical marijuana cardholders. Additionally, the Cannabis Control Board of New York has crafted regulations on adult-use cannabis delivery by conditional adult-use retail dispensaries to individuals aged 21 and older.
Orders of cannabis for delivery must be made by phone or online exclusively via the official application or platform of the licensed dispensary. The order must also be prepaid.
Deliveries are only allowed within New York State and only to an owned or rented residence or business with a physical address. Deliveries to vehicles are not allowed.
If the delivery vehicle is fully enclosed, it may carry a maximum of $20,000 worth of cannabis. If the delivery vehicle is not enclosed, such as a motorcycle, or if the delivery is done on foot, the maximum worth of cannabis allowed to be carried is $5,000.
A resident of Saratoga County can get a medical marijuana card if diagnosed by a medical practitioner to have one of the listed qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana treatment:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Nervous tissue damage in the spinal cord with intractable spasticity
Inflammatory bowel disease
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Substance use disorder
Pain that degrades overall health
Other medical conditions certified by the medical practitioner
After the certification has been issued by the medical practitioner, the patient has to register online. If the patient needs a caregiver, the caregiver has to be listed in the patient’s registration. A patient is allowed a maximum of five caregivers. Once the patient’s application is accepted, the caregiver must also be registered. Registration requirements for both patients and caregivers include a valid government-issued photo ID card and proof of residency in New York State.
Immediately upon registration, the patient and caregiver will have access to a temporary medical marijuana registry ID card on the online registry. This can already be printed for use in purchasing medical cannabis. The patient and caregiver will receive the physical medical marijuana card by mail.
The Medical Cannabis Program of the OCM may be contacted for inquiries by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 844-863-9312.
For the gross receipts of medical cannabis sold by a licensed cannabis dispensary to certified patients and caregivers, the dispensary pays a 7% excise tax. Patients and caregivers are not charged for this tax.
For adult-use cannabis, the MRTA levies the following taxes on the sales of licensed cultivators, processors, and dispensaries:
Cultivators and processors pay $0.03 for every milligram of total THC in edible cannabis form
Cultivators and processors pay $0.008 for every milligram of total THC in cannabis concentrate form
Cultivators and processors pay $0.0005 for every milligram of total THC in loose flowers, shakes, or pre-rolls
Retail dispensaries pay a state excise tax of 9% of the selling price of cannabis or cannabis products
Retail dispensaries pay a local excise tax of 4% of the selling price of cannabis or cannabis products. The local excise tax is divided, with 25% going to the county and 75% going to the city, town, or village where the dispensary is located. The 75% will be divided further in equal shares between the village and the town, or according to any agreement they have.
All income from adult-use cannabis tax revenues intended for the state will go to the New York State Cannabis Revenue Fund to be used on the administrative costs of the MRTA. The balance will be distributed as follows:
40% to the State Lottery Fund for education purposes
40% to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund for social equity initiatives, including non-profit community-based organizations in communities disproportionately affected by the cannabis ban
20% to the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund for a public education camp statewide
The projection upon complete implementation of the MRTA is for the state of New York to earn $360 million annually and localities like Saratoga County to earn $75 million.
Medical cannabis was legalized in New York State in 2016 while recreational adult-use cannabis has just been legalized in 2021. According to data from the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page, in 2015 there were 21 arrests for marijuana possession. In 2021, this decreased to one arrest for marijuana possession and four arrests for marijuana manufacturing or sales.
There were 117 DUI arrests in 2015. This increased to 130 DUI arrests in 2021.