NYS Medical Marijuana: Everything You Should Know

Jun, 2021
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Have you been wondering whether you can cultivate your cannabis plant in New York? Or, is your concern about the possibility of owning a gun as a medical marijuana cardholder in New York? Perhaps, you need to know the closest medical marijuana dispensary to your place or just have loads of questions about the status of NYS medical marijuana. Don’t worry — we get it.

Here, we'll answer all your questions as we walk you through the ins and outs of medical marijuana in NYS.

New York State. Nys Medical Marijuana Article

The Status of Medical Marijuana in NYS

New York State signed the law that legalized medical marijuana in 2014. Since then, the State’s Department of Health has registered over 147,000 marijuana patients. In addition, the Big Apple has quite an extensive list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card, allowing people with varying conditions to enjoy the benefits of MMJ. Thus, patients living with any of the following conditions can apply for an NYS medical marijuana card:

  1. Acute pain management
  2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  3. Cancer
  4. Chronic Pain
  5. Epilepsy
  7. Huntington’s Disease
  8. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  9. Parkinson’s Disease
  10. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  11. Multiple
  12. Opioid Substitution
  13. Spinal Cord damage

The good news is that The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), signed into law on March 31, 2021, by Governor Andrew Cuomo, has widened the scope of this list. Muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s Disease, autism, and Rheumatoid Arthritis are some conditions that are now qualifying medical conditions for MMJ card in New York. In addition, the law also includes a blanket provision that “any other condition certified by the practitioner” can be a qualifying medical condition. 

Unfortunately, New York currently has no reciprocity law with any state, so out-of-state marijuana medical cardholders cannot get NYS medical marijuana even if their condition falls under this extended range of qualifying conditions. You have to have an NYS MMJ card explicitly. 

You should remember that cannabis remains a controlled substance under federal law, regardless of what New York law says. Thus, being an MMJ cardholder does not exempt you from punishment if you break any federal laws relating to controlled substances. This includes laws on possession, transportation, or consumption of medical cannabis on federal properties such as parks, federal buildings, etc. Simply put, just be smart! 

NYS Medical Marijuana and Cultivation Laws

The NYS medical marijuana law authorizes the Department of Health to license and regulate registered organizations to cultivate and sell medical marijuana to patients. Currently, only about five manufacturers have grow licenses in New York State. Even more so, the law does not allow patients to grow their own weed in NYS. However, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act relaxes the restrictions on NYS medical marijuana program, allowing patients to cultivate cannabis at home. Of course, at-home growers are subjected to some rules written by the State. After the rules are in place, we expect that patients should be able to grow cannabis in their homes within six months. Fingers crossed, Big Apple! 

It is a reasonable expectation that with the relaxation of these restrictions, the high cost of medical cannabis will reduce. However, it is important to note that insurers currently do not cover the purchase of medical marijuana as it is still an illegal schedule 1 drug under federal law. As such, patients must pay out of pocket when they need to use medical marijuana in NYS. 

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act distinguish provisions that permit the home cultivation of as many as 6 cannabis plants per person or up to 12 plants per household. Growing over 6 (or 12 plants per household) cannabis plants is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1000. If you’re hoping to grow your own green, you have to stick to just a few. 

NYS Medical Cannabis Possession Limits

As a qualified patient in New York, The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act allow you to possess a 60-day supply of cannabis, doubling the former 30-days limit on patients’ supply. 

Medical Marijuana in NYS

The DOH allows licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis in different forms such as vape cartridges, capsules, oral sprays, edibles, and oils. Before the MRTA, the State prohibited the sale of a smokeable flower. However, MRTA removes this prohibition on smoking, allowing patients in NYS to smoke the flower, buds, or the smokable part of the plant. This is good news because smoking is the most effective way for patients to feel the effects of marijuana immediately.

In addition, doctors are not the only ones that can certify you for medical marijuana in NYS. Nurse practitioners or physician assistants are allowed to do so under the law.

Looking for a Dispensary in New York State? We Got You.

So, if you have gotten your prescription from any of these health practitioners and you are looking for where to buy weed in NYS, check out the following licensed medical marijuana dispensaries (and we have more here, too!):

  1. Columbia Care with three different locations:
  • 212 E 14th Street, New York, NY 10003
  • 1333 E. Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901
  • 200 West Ridge Rd, Rochester, NY 14615
  1. Curaleaf with three different locations:
  • 107-18 70th Road, Forest Hills, NY 11375
  • 345 Cornelia Street,  Plattsburgh, NY 12901
  • 8 North Plank Road, Newburgh, NY 12550
  1. Etain with four operational MMJ dispensaries:
  • 142 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016
  • 2140 Erie Boulevard, East Syracuse, NY 13224
  • 445 State Route 28, Kingston, NY 12401
  • 55 Main St., 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 10701
  1. FP Wellness Dispensary currently has three operational dispensaries:
  • 2 E 30th St, New York, NY 10016
  • 1150 University Ave Bldg 5 Suite 7, Rochester, NY 14607
  • 1675 U.S. 9, Clifton Park, NY 12065
  1. MedMen with four locations:
  • 52 South Union Road, Williamsville, NY 14221
  • 1304 Buckley Road, Syracuse, NY 13212
  • 2001 Marcus Ave., Lake Success, NY 11042
  • 433 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 100016
  1. PharmaCannis with four MMJ dispensaries located in:
  • 25 Northpointe Parkway, Amherst, NY 14228
  • 642 Old Liverpool Road, Liverpool, NY 13088
  • 10 Executive Park Drive, Albany, NY 12203
  • 405 Hunts Point Avenue, Bronx, NY 10474
  1. Vireo Health with four MMJ dispensaries located in:
  • 221-223 E. Post Road, White Plains, NY 10601
  • 89-55 Queens Blvd, Elmhurst, NY 11373
  • 38 Fuller Road, Albany, NY 12205
  • 589 Harry L Drive, Johnson City, NY 13790

Some of these dispensaries offer in-store ordering only. However, Curaleaf and MedMen offer both in-store and online orders. Please visit their website to confirm what each dispensary provides.

Guns and NYS Medical Marijuana

The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits you from using marijuana and buying/possessing a firearm. Thus, even though medical marijuana is legal in New York and you are an MMJ card patient, the Act places you under the same prohibited status as the mentally ill and violent criminals.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) categorizes anyone who uses marijuana as an “unlawful user” of a controlled substance and prohibits such persons from buying or possessing a gun. ATF has also explicitly stated that this includes those in lawful possession of a medical marijuana card.

Thus, if you own an MMJ card, you cannot apply for a gun, and vice versa. However, one legal way to own an MMJ card and have a gun in your home at the same time is a case where your spouse does not consume cannabis, buys a firearm, and locks it in a place that is inaccessible to you. If you’re curious about other states’ cannabis and gun laws, check out these blog posts

Let Elevate Holistics Be Your NYS Medical Marijuana Guide

So, are you interested in getting a New York State medical marijuana card? Are you looking for the best medical cannabis in NYS? Elevate Holistics can help you get there. Right now, our MMJ card services don’t currently extend to New York patients, but we would never leave you hanging. Our partners over at Heally can help you obtain your favorite NYS medical marijuana through a simple, online process — just like what we do at Elevate. (Just follow this link to get started!) Through telehealth services like ours, getting your medical marijuana card is quick, easy, and all from the comfort of your home. Send us a message today, and we’ll gladly answer all your canna-questions.

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