Medical and adult-use cannabis cultivation in Schenectady County was legalized in March 2021 by the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) of the State of New York. This allows cannabis use by medical cannabis cardholders and adults aged 21 and older, replacing the 2016 law which allowed only medical cannabis use by holders of medical cannabis cards.
Medical cannabis cardholders aged 21 and above in Schenectady County are allowed by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) to cultivate up to three mature and three immature medical cannabis plants at home for personal use only. No county or municipality may prohibit this.
The OCM Medical Cannabis Home Cultivation Guide and Personal Home Cultivation of Medical Cannabis Regulations govern the home cultivation of medical cannabis. Even if more than two patients live in the same residence, or if a caregiver grows medical cannabis at home for more than two patients, the cap is three mature and three immature medical cannabis plants.
In addition to the live plants, medical cannabis cardholders are allowed to have a maximum of five pounds of medical cannabis at home. To stay within their limits for possession, they are also allowed to give away without anything in payment or exchange 24 grams of medical cannabis concentrate or three ounces of medical cannabis only to other medical cannabis cardholders.
Medical cannabis home cultivation can only be done in residences that are not on federal property. Cultivation is allowed both indoors and outdoors in a space that is not for shared use with other homes. The growing area must be fenced and locked to prevent unauthorized entry and to hide the medical cannabis from public sight.
Effective June 29, 2024, 18 months from the first retail sale of adult-use cannabis in the State of New York, the home growing of adult-use cannabis by persons aged 21 and older will be allowed in Schenectady County, subject to regulations to be set by the OCM. No county or municipality may also prohibit this but they may set regulations on implementation within their jurisdictions.
Any existing medical cannabis registered organization in Schenectady County is allowed to apply for the registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor retail dispensary license which will authorize it to do all the named activities in addition to continuing the same for medical cannabis.
Alternatively, a cannabis cultivation company in Schenectady County may also operate with the adult-use conditional cultivator license (AUCC). However, this was open for application, from March 15 to June 30, 2022, only to licensed hemp cultivators of the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. In addition to cultivating adult-use cannabis with more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the license also authorizes adult-use cannabis product manufacturing up to June 30, 2024, and distribution up to June 1, 2023.
The Guidance for Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators of the OCM allows licensees to choose one of the following modes of cultivation:
Fully outdoors, with a maximum flowering canopy of 43,560 square feet
Fully indoors in a greenhouse, with a maximum flowering canopy of 25,000 square feet
Mixed indoor and outdoor cultivation, with a total flowering canopy not exceeding 30,000 square feet, of which up to 20,000 square feet are indoors
All licensed cannabis cultivators are mandated to comply with the packaging and labeling requirements of the Cannabis Control Board.
Medical and adult-use cannabis product manufacturing in Schenectady County was legalized by the State of New York’s MRTA.
Medical cannabis cardholders aged 21 and older in Schenectady County who are allowed to grow medical cannabis at home are also allowed to process these but are forbidden from using alcohol, any combustible fuel like propane or butane, and any liquid or gas with a flashpoint lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The same prohibitions will apply to adults aged 21 and older who will be allowed to process the cannabis they will grow at home.
Existing medical cannabis registered organizations may manufacture adult-use cannabis products by applying for the registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor retail dispensary license.
A cannabis manufacturing company in Schenectady County may also manufacture adult-use cannabis products with more than 0.3% THC content if it carries an adult-use conditional processor license from the OCM. However, this was open for application, from June 28 to August 31, 2022, only to licensed hemp processors of the Cannabinoid Hemp Program, provided their hemp license was applied for before January 1, 2022. Adult-use conditional processor licensees are allowed to manufacture adult-use cannabis and sell these to licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries up to June 1, 2023, after which they must apply for a new license.
According to the OCM’s Adult-Use Conditional Processor Terms and Conditions and Guidance, licensed adult-use cannabis manufacturers are allowed to process the following cannabis items:
Dried cannabis flowers and shakes
Edible products and drinks
Any item to be added by the OCM
The total terpene content of any cannabis product must not exceed 10% unless it has the approval of the Cannabis Control Board. Tinctures and topical formulations must contain not more than 1,000 milligrams of THC. Every serving of a product meant for oral consumption must not contain over 10 milligrams of THC. A package comprised of several servings must not exceed a total content of 100 milligrams of THC. All labeling and packaging requirements of the Cannabis Control Board must be observed.
Medical and adult-use cannabis and cannabis product retail selling to medical cannabis cardholders and adults aged 21 and above in Schenectady County was legalized by the MRTA of the State of New York. The MRTA, however, allowed municipalities to decide whether to allow dispensaries and consumption sites in their jurisdictions. Municipalities that have decided to opt out of both or one of those, could still opt-in with the creation of a new ordinance.
In Schenectady County, as of April 2023, the following municipalities allow both licensed cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites:
The Town of Duanesburg
The Town of Rotterdam
The City of Schenectady
The Village of Scotia
The following municipalities disallow both licensed cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites:
The Town of Glenville
The Town of Niskayuna
The Town of Princeton
Existing medical cannabis registered organizations may sell adult-use cannabis and adult-use cannabis products by retail if they have obtained a registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor retail dispensary license.
A cannabis retail company in Schenectady County may also acquire instead a conditional adult-use retail dispensary license (CAURD) or an on-site consumption license from the OCM. A notification must be submitted by each applicant to the municipality where the facility will be located 270 to 30 days prior to filing the state CAURD license application.
CAURD applications closed in September 2021 while on-site consumption license applications are not yet open. As of April 2023, there is one licensed CAURD in the City of Schenectady.
The Guidance for Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries sets the following rules for licensed cannabis dispensaries:
They may not be on the same street as a church, community facility, or school.
They must be over 500 feet from a church, community facility, or school.
They must be over 1,000 feet from another licensed medical or adult-use cannabis dispensary in a municipality with at least 20,000 residents.
They must be over 2,000 feet from another licensed medical or adult-use cannabis dispensary in a municipality with less than 20,000 residents.
Licensed cannabis dispensaries may be open from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. but this may be extended by the municipality through an ordinance. A drive-through window or a pick-up lane needs the approval of the OCM.
Since 2016, licensed medical cannabis dispensaries have been permitted to sell to each patient within every 60-day period only a 60-day supply of medical cannabis based on the patient’s physician’s certification. Registered patients and caregivers must present their medical cannabis card and the physician’s certification.
Licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries can only sell the legal cannabis possession limit to individuals aged 21 and older who present a valid government-issued photo ID with their date of birth. The limit is equivalent to three ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate in any form that the OCM allows licensed cannabis manufacturers to produce, including edible products. All cannabis sales information must be logged into the inventory tracking system of the dispensary. A receipt must be issued to every consumer.
Licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries are also permitted to sell cannabis paraphernalia, merchandise with the dispensary brand, gift items, stationery, and other incidental goods.
Medical and adult-use cannabis and cannabis product delivery by licensed cannabis dispensaries to medical cannabis cardholders and adults aged 21 and above in Schenectady County was legalized by the State of New York’s MRTA. The CAURD Delivery Guidance of the OCM also permits licensees to operate by delivery only in their first year.
Orders can be done by phone, through the exclusive app of the licensed dispensary, or through an online retail delivery platform, but they must not be accessible to minors. Medical cannabis cardholders must present their card and physician’s certification when ordering and before receiving the purchases during delivery. Individuals aged 21 and older must present a valid government-issued ID with proof of age on both occasions.
Deliveries can only be made within the licensed dispensary’s business hours to a non-mobile residence or private business location in the State of New York. The licensed dispensary must own the delivery vehicle.
Deliveries made in enclosed vehicles may carry cannabis and cannabis products worth up to $20,000. Deliveries made in open vehicles or on foot may carry cannabis and cannabis products only worth up to $5,000.
All cannabis delivery information must be posted on the inventory tracking system of the dispensary. Every consumer must be issued a receipt.
Patients in Schenectady County must be diagnosed with one of the following medical conditions by a qualified practitioner to apply for the medical cannabis card of the State of New York:
Pain-causing health degradation
Inflammatory bowel disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Spinal cord nerve tissue damage with intractable spasticity
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Substance use disorder
Any medical conditions the practitioner deems eligible
After a diagnosis is made, the doctor will enter the Health Commerce System (HCS) online and create the physician’s certification on the Medical Cannabis Data Management System (MCDMS). The patient will be given a printed copy.
The patient must follow these online patient registration instructions with the required documents at hand. Patients who are minors or adults who need assistance may name a maximum of five caregivers in the application. After the approval of the patient’s application, each caregiver must register online as well.
A temporary medical cannabis card will appear on the online account of the patient or caregiver once the application is approved. This may be printed and used until the actual medical cannabis card arrives by mail.
The OCM Medical Cannabis Program may be contacted through the following:
Phone: 888-OCM-5151 (888-626-5151)
According to the State of New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance licensed cannabis dispensaries must pay a 7% excise tax on medical cannabis sales. This tax cannot be passed on to medical cannabis cardholders.
According to the OCM, the adult-use cannabis taxation is as follows:
Payable by licensed adult-use cannabis cultivators and manufacturers:
Edible cannabis (food and beverages): $0.03 per milligram of THC sold
Cannabis concentrate: $0.008 per milligram of THC sold
Cannabis flowers, shakes, and pre-rolls: $0.0005 per milligram of THC sold
Payable by licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries:
A state excise tax of 9% of the price of adult-use cannabis sold
A local excise tax of 4% of the price of adult-use cannabis sold, from which the county, such as Schenectady County, gets 25% and the municipality, such as the City of Schenectady, gets 75%
The New York State Cannabis Revenue Fund receives all state tax revenues from adult-use cannabis. This is used to administer the MRTA, with the excess allocated as follows:
40% to the State Lottery Fund
40% to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund
20% to the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016 and adult-use cannabis was legalized in 2021 in Schenectady County.
Data from the Schenectady County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that a year before medical cannabis legalization, in 2015, there were no marijuana offense arrests.
Two years after medical cannabis legislation, in 2018, there was one marijuana offense arrest for possession.
In the latest available data, in 2020, there were two marijuana offense arrests, all for possession.
The following were the DUI arrests in those years:
2015: 1 arrest
2018: 0 arrests
2020: 3 arrests