Cannabis cultivation is legal in Westchester County. Cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes was legalized in New York in July 2014 through the New York Compassionate Care Act. In 2021, the New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was enacted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. The MRTA established the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) to regulate medical and recreational cannabis in the state. Per the Compassionate Care Act, a registered medical marijuana patient in Westchester County can grow up to six marijuana plants in their residence. New York’s marijuana laws allow a registered medical cannabis caregiver to cultivate cannabis plants for up to four patients. However, they can only grow up to 12 matured marijuana plants at any given time.
The MRTA permits adults, aged 21 years and above, to cultivate up to six marijuana plants, including three immature marijuana plants, in their residences for personal recreational use. A maximum of 12 marijuana plants, including six immature plants, can be grown in a household with more than one adult aged 21 years and above. The MRTA mandates that cannabis cultivated in a residence be kept away from persons under the age of 21. However, personal cultivation of cannabis in residences can only begin after the OCM issues regulations for home cultivation of marijuana; the rules will be published within 18 months of the first sales of adult-use marijuana.
Entities interested in commercial marijuana cultivation intended for recreational use must apply for, and obtain, New York’s Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator licenses. However, applicants must currently hold the state’s Cannabinoid Hemp Processor licenses. The application window for the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator license is March 15, 2022, to June 30, 2022.
Registered Organizations are permitted to cultivate marijuana for medical use in the county. Westchester County does not have an ordinance to regulate the cultivation of marijuana in the county.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Westchester County. Per the MRTA, Conditional Adult-Use Processor licensees may process marijuana products by extracting, preparing, treating, manufacturing, or modifying marijuana plants. Existing hemp processors in Westchester County may apply for the Adult-Use Processor licenses. Registered organizations may also process cannabis for medical purposes in Westchester County.
The New York Compassionate Care Act allows medical marijuana patients and caregivers to process marijuana plants in their homes. The Act prohibits gas or any other liquid aside from alcohol in the home processing of cannabis.
Yes, cannabis retail is legal in Westchester County. Registered dispensaries may sell medical marijuana products to registered medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. The MRTA legalized sales of cannabis products such as oils, edibles, vapes, and tinctures by licensed retail dispensaries to adults aged 21 years and above for recreational use. They can purchase up to 3 ounces of cannabis flower and 24 grams of concentrated cannabis in Westchester County.
The MRTA prohibits locating cannabis retail stores within 500 feet of a school or 200 feet of a religious center. Cannabis advertisements are also prohibited within 500 feet of the perimeters of school grounds, playgrounds, child daycare centers, libraries, public parks, public transit vehicles, and billboards in Westchester County.
Cannabis delivery is legal in Westchester County. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act permits registered dispensaries to deliver medical marijuana products to medical marijuana patients and caregivers in the county. Licensed cannabis delivery businesses can deliver cannabis products to adults aged 21 years and above. A delivery business must verify each buyer’s age before a delivery can be made. The Act prohibits the delivery of cannabis to a person visibly intoxicated. In addition, the cannabis product must be labeled appropriately and sold in a child-resistant, resealable package.
A New York medical marijuana identification card allows medical marijuana patients and caregivers in Westchester County to purchase medical marijuana from registered dispensaries. It is issued by the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. An individual interested in getting a medical marijuana ID card must be a resident of New York State and must possess a certification for medical cannabis from a registered medical practitioner.
An applicant seeking a medical marijuana card in Westchester County must schedule an appointment with a medical practitioner to get certification that they suffer from one of the qualifying medical conditions approved for medical marijuana treatment. The medical practitioner can be a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant. Applicants in Westchester County can search for medical practitioners based in the county on the New York State Public List of Consenting Medical Cannabis Program Practitioners. Qualifying medical conditions for marijuana therapy in New York include:
Once an applicant receives a certification for medical cannabis from their medical practitioner, they must then create a personal account on the NY.gov ID portal. The applicant will be required to submit the certification, proof of residency, and driver’s license or a state-issued ID card.
If the application is successful, the applicant can print a digital copy of the medical cannabis card to purchase medical marijuana products. This temporary card is valid for 30 days. The OCM will send the patient’s permanent medical marijuana ID card within 10 business days of submitting a successful application. Certified patients can select up to two caregivers to help them access medical marijuana products. Patients under the age of 18 must designate caregivers. A New York medical marijuana ID card is valid for a year. Applicants for medical marijuana cards in Westchester County that have issues with their applications may contact the OCM by phone by calling (888) 515-626.
The Marijuana Regulations and Taxation Act was enacted in 2021, and several of its provisions are yet to be implemented. Currently, there is no way to measure its economic impact on Westchester County. The state’s medical marijuana law did not impose a sales tax on medical cannabis. Therefore, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on the county’s economy.
The crime data submitted by the Westchester County Department of Public Safety to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showed that 200 marijuana possession arrests were made in 2014. In 2015 when the Compassionate Care Act became effective, there were 13 marijuana possession arrests. The 28 marijuana possession arrests recorded in 2020 represents an 86% decrease from the 200 marijuana possession arrests recorded in 2014.
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety recorded 17 marijuana sales arrests in 2014. There were no marijuana sales arrests in 2015 and 2020. There was one marijuana arrest in 2019. Marijuana sales arrest figures in Westchester County have declined by over 90% since the state’s medical marijuana law was enacted in 2014.
According to the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, there were 268 DUI (Driving Under the Influence) arrests in 2014. In 2015, there were 156 DUI arrests. These figures fell to 40 DUI arrests in 2020, representing an 85% decrease in DUI arrests between 2014 and 2020.
After analyzing crime data for Westchester County from 2014 to 2020, it is clear that marijuana-related arrests significantly declined in the county as a result of the legalization of marijuana for medical use. There is no data yet to measure the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana on crime rates in Westchester County.