Does New York Accept Out-of-State MMJ Cards?

Today, we’re here to tell you all you need to know about New York State medical marijuana laws, including whether New York accepts out-of-state MMJ cards. Let’s dive in!

Can You Buy From A Dispensary With An Out-Of-State MMJ Card?

You can buy medical marijuana products from a dispensary with an out-of-state MMJ card in states that practice medical marijuana card reciprocity. These states recognize MMJ cards from other states and allow patients with out-of-state cards to purchase medical marijuana legally in local dispensaries.

Does New York Accept Out-of-State MMJ Cards?

So, can I use an out-of-state medical card in NY? Unfortunately, the answer is no. It’s not currently possible to use an out-of-state medical marijuana card in New York.

New York Recreational Marijuana

Recreational marijuana became legal in New York on March 31st, 2021. However, it will take up to 18 months for recreational marijuana to be available at New York dispensaries.

This means that MMJ patients from other states will be able to purchase recreational marijuana in New York from late 2022. Recreational marijuana possession limits are lower than medical ones – recreational users may only possess up to three ounces of marijuana in New York.

skyline view of new york
Image by LNLNLN on Pixabay: Does New York accept out-of-state MMJ cards?

Federal Medical Marijuana Law

Marijuana is still illegal at a federal level. This means that it is a federal offense to take marijuana across state borders.

Do You Have To Be A Resident To Get A Medical Card In New York?

In order to get a New York medical marijuana card, a person must be a resident of New York State or be temporarily residing in the state for the purpose of receiving treatment.

New York residents must show proof of residency by providing the ID number from their New York State Driver’s License or New York State Non-Driver ID Card. Temporary residents must provide documentation showing proof of temporary residence in New York State, such as:

  • A copy of a lease
  • A utility bill
  • A hospital bill
  • Other documentation containing information that proves temporary residency in New York State

What States Accept Out-Of-State MMJ Cards?

The following states accept out-of-state MMJ cards in 2021:

  • Arkansas
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Washington D.C.

Some states, such as Oklahoma, allow medical marijuana patients from other states to purchase MMJ if they get a Temporary Patient License.

How Do You Get A New York Medical Marijuana Card?

So, is it easy to get a medical card in New York? Yes, getting a NY MMJ card is a simple process! All you need to do is have a consultation with a state-licensed medical professional. The can be anyone who is licensed by New York State to prescribe medications within the state, such as physicians, dentists, podiatrists, and midwives. You can complete your consultation using a telemedicine platform such as MMJRecs.

Once your suitability for MMJ treatment has been verified, you can submit an application through the my.NY web portal. The New York Department of Health provides this helpful guide to submitting your online application.

New York Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

Conditions that qualify you for MMJ use in New York include:

  • Cancer
  • HIV infection or AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury with spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Opioid use disorder (only if enrolled in a treatment program)
  • Opioid replacement
  • Huntington’s disease
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • A severe debilitating or life-threatening condition that is accompanied by one or more of the following associated or complicating conditions:
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Severe or chronic pain
    • Severe nausea
    • Seizures
    • Severe or persistent muscle spasms
    • PTSD
    • Opioid use disorder

What MMJ Products Are Available In New York Dispensaries?

The following MMJ products are available in New York dispensaries:

  • Marijuana flower
  • Vape cartridges
  • MMJ edibles
  • Lozenges, capsules, and tablets
  • Tinctures and sprays
  • Topicals and lotions
  • CBD wellness products
  • Powders
  • MMJ equipment
new york city times square
Image by Vintagelee on Pixabay: Do you have to be a resident to get a medical card?

What Are The Medical Marijuana Possession Limits In New York?

Medical marijuana patients can now purchase up to a 60-day supply of MMJ in New York dispensaries. Patients can grow up to six plants at home.

Where Can You Consume Medical Marijuana In New York?

You can smoke or vape medical marijuana anywhere that smoking tobacco is allowed, but smoking is prohibited in most public areas in New York, including outdoor dining areas at restaurants, parks, pools, offices, restaurants, bars, the subway, ferries, schools, and beaches. MMJ use is also not allowed in motor vehicles of any kind, even when they are parked.

In Which Other States Can New York MMJ Cardholders Purchase Medical Marijuana?

New York MMJ card holders can purchase MMJ in states that practice MMJ card reciprocity and in states that provide Temporary Patient Licenses to visitors from other states. New York MMJ patients can also purchase marijuana, albeit often in smaller amounts, in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Featured image by Arthur Brognoli on Pexels

Why New York Is The New Medical Marijuana State

New York State’s legal medical marijuana program became operational in January 2017. The program has caused a lot of controversy, both in the lead-up to its commencement, and since. And the controversy rages still.

The problem that a lot of people have with New York MMJ laws is that, despite the state’s tradition of inclusiveness, open-mindedness, and liberalism, the medical cannabis program that its scientists, legislators, and politicians devised and put into operation is pretty much one of the most restrictive and limited in all of North America. People who were excitedly anticipating New York becoming a weed-friendly state along the lines of Washington, Colorado, and California, with funky Manhattan dispensaries educating people and selling the latest boutique strains and tasty organic edibles, are now sorely disappointed.

Getting a New York medical marijuana card from your friendly old neighborhood doc and using it to pick up some Lemon OG Kush in your cozy corner dispensary to treat your insomnia, anxiety, glaucoma, or backache is absolutely not an option in New York.

Only ‘severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions’ qualify a person to get a New York medical marijuana card under the state’s ‘wet behind the ears’ medical herb laws. Originally, only having one of a horror show of diseases and conditions, combined with some truly gruesome symptoms, qualified people for a New York medical cannabis card. Cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, and Huntington’s disease were initially the only conditions that made someone eligible, and on top of this, the patient’s condition had to include a symptom of cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or persistent muscle spasms, severe or chronic pain, nausea, or seizures. Thankfully the state amended the law in March to include chronic pain as another qualifying condition. This more vague condition has made it easier for patients to qualify for the program. So it’s not as draconian as it was at the beginning, but it’s still considerably more limited than most other states with regards to what conditions qualify a person to get a New York medical cannabis card.

New York MMJ laws are particularly restrictive at this stage.

Alongside the severely limiting list of qualifying conditions, there are also several other issues that restrict the effectiveness of New York State’s MMJ program. There are only a meager twenty dispensaries allowed to operate in the state (a mere one for the entire island of Manhattan!); smoking and edibles are banned and only oils and tinctures are allowed; a paltry variety of MMJ products are available to choose from; the prices are higher than in other states; and home cultivation is strictly prohibited. Medical cannabis advocates and patients and many physicians in the state are feeling deflated and hard done by.

But is this situation going to change? Is this awkward, cumbersome, red tape-wrapped MMJ program the best that New Yorkers can hope for? And importantly, will New York State’s restrictive and, some might say, half-hearted adoption of a medical marijuana program serve as a template to follow for other states that have yet to legalize medical marijuana, but are likely to do so in the future?

Murmurs coming from the Department of Health are giving a glimmer of hope. Scientists responsible for designating a medical condition weed card-worthy are at pains to point out the fact that they are always careful to stay up-to-date with the latest research, and that no designation is written in stone. As soon as ample evidence presents itself that a condition can be helped by medical marijuana use, they say they will amend their decision and recommend that it be included on the list of qualifying conditions. They put their money where their mouth is in March when they decided that chronic pain should become a qualifying condition. They are also putting their weight behind moves to include PTSD and menstrual cramps on the list, and it looks like these conditions will become the newest ailments to be included on the list very soon.

With regards to number of dispensaries, available products, methods of ingestion, and home cultivation, things look like they will move more slowly, but with large states such as California going all-in, legalizing marijuana outright, and seeing huge economic benefits, it seems likely that New York State will move, albeit slowly, in the direction of less restrictive cannabis laws.

Will New York follow in California’s footsteps?

With regards to the question of other, more conservative states using the restrictive model of New York MMJ laws as a template for their own programs, this seems quite likely. New York is a highly influential state. The draft bill that Pennsylvania is currently working on is highly restrictive, and many southern and midwestern states are keen to introduce severely limited MMJ laws (if they introduce them at all).

This is an unfortunate state of affairs, as it gives states an excuse to introduce restrictive, unhelpful laws of their own, and thus may turn out to cause undue pain and hassle to patients in many different areas of the country.

Let’s hope that the slow movements New York State is making towards improving their program pick up pace, because as the newest and most high-profile medical marijuana state, they wield a lot of influence. The country is watching closely. What will New York, the new medical marijuana state, do next?

Are New York’s Medical Marijuana Laws Going to Relax Any Time Soon?

New York State’s new medical marijuana program, which came into effect on the 6th January 2017, has been criticized by a lot of people for being one of the most restrictive, limited, and non-user-friendly medical cannabis programs in the entire country. And these criticisms are certainly not unfounded. The New York medical marijuana card program is extremely limited in its current form.

There is an abundance of very strict and highly limiting rules and regulations wrapped tightly around the New York medical card program, and as a result of this, many physicians, providers, and patients feel severely hamstrung and unable to get optimal value from the program.

Currently only a limited list (much more limited than in other parts of the country) of ailments and conditions qualify a person to be treated with medical marijuana. Initially, only cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy Huntington’s disease, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and neuropathy qualified a person to be prescribed MMJ. More recently, on 22nd March 2017, chronic pain was added to the list. It was hoped that rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, and dystonia would qualify a person, but the Department of Health has refused at this time to designate these conditions a suitable to qualify a person for a New York medical cannabis card.

The laws are currently very strict regarding dispensaries. There are very few dispensaries in the state in which to use a New York marijuana card. The new program only allows 20 dispensaries in total to operate in the entire state. This situation makes life quite difficult for many MMJ patients.

The New York medical marijuana program is strict and not at all user-friendly.

The only dispensary on Manhattan, located near the 3rd Avenue subway station, is far from the welcoming, educational mecca to medical marijuana that many of the dispensaries in other, more MMJ-friendly states are. It is a tightly controlled building with unmanned security gates (almost prison-like) that patients get buzzed through. It is clean and efficient but it has no interesting edibles or innovative new strains of smokable herb to explore – a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of delightful medical cannabis treats it most certainly is NOT! There is zero edible or smokable MMJ for sale. Only tinctures and oils that can be taken from an inhaler or vaporizer are allowed in New York State, and the prices are higher than in most other states in the country. Insurance companies in the state do not cover a patient for medical marijuana use.

The certificate provided to a patient by a doctor recommending MMJ use must have stated upon it the type of MMJ they should use, the method of administration and the amount – this prevents a patient from experimenting with different types of medical cannabis and different methods of ingestion, which is very limiting.

New York residents are hoping the list of MMJ qualifying ailments will grow in the future.

Home cultivation is still strictly prohibited by the New York State program.

So for these reasons the medical marijuana program in New York State is currently very tight and restrictive. But there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. There seems to be a very slow but gradual creep towards opening up taking place. A more relaxed and inclusive regime may not be too far away.

One gets the impression that, even though change and movement is slow, the vast majority of changes that occur over the coming years will result in more relaxed laws.

Despite the fact that the list of qualifying conditions is currently very restricted, there is a definite cautious open-mindedness detectable from the scientists at the Department of Health that are responsible for investigating what ailments should qualify a patient for MMJ treatment. While they are currently of the opinion that a shorter list of conditions is treatable by MMJ than their compatriots in most other states, they have reassured the public adamantly that they are keeping up-to-date on all new research and are completely willing to change their minds as soon as compelling evidence presents itself. This bodes well for a future relaxation of the laws regarding qualifying medical conditions.

This willingness to change the specifics of the program was demonstrated in March 2017 when ‘chronic pain’ was added to the list of qualifying ailments, opening the door to many new potential patients.

And the progress continues. PTSD looks likely to become a qualifying condition in the near future. A bipartisan bill that will designate PTSD a ‘qualifying condition’ has already passed the Senate Health Committee and is currently awaiting approval by the Senate.

Another ailment that looks like it will imminently be designated a ‘qualifying condition’ is dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps). Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has introduced a bill to allow menstrual cramps to be treated with MMJ. She is confident that the bill will be passed. ‘We’re a progressive state. It did take 20 years to get medical marijuana to be the law, but we’re going to work hard to get it passed.’

It seems like her optimism is justified. The cannabis card New York program is currently tight and restrictive, but as Rosenthal says, New York is a traditionally progressive state, and its MMJ program, although currently restrictive, does seem to be moving towards a more relaxed and open place, slowly but surely.

The Difference Between California and New York Medical Marijuana Laws

The advent of the medical marijuana card is fast spreading across the U.S. From California to Colorado to Alaska, more states are becoming more MMJ-friendly as the world starts to wake up to the innumerable benefits that the plant provides. Following the thinking of other like-minded progressive states came New York. Although most people would think of New York using the same terms that they’d think of California — modern, liberal, diverse — what comes as a surprise to most people is that their medical marijuana laws are among the strictest in the country and a far cry from the super-relaxed laws of the Golden State.

CA vs. NY: Medical Marijuana Cards

In California, acquiring a medical marijuana card could not be easier. You fill out a short questionnaire and are then transferred to a doctor who will carry out an online assessment from the comfort of your own home. If they think you’re suitable for an MMJ card, your certification will be posted out with a day or two. Simple huh!?

In New York, it’s a slightly more convoluted process. First, you must book an appointment with you doctor to present them with the illness you think makes you a suitable candidate for medical marijuana treatment (we’ll get into qualifying illnesses later). It’s important to note that the doctor you go to must be registered with the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. If they’re not, they won’t be able to provide you with medical marijuana certification. This doctor will carry out an assessment to determine your suitability for the program. If they think you satisfy all necessary criteria, they’ll provide you with your New York MMJ certification.

When you have this part of the process done and dusted, you must then apply for your Registry ID Card. This is the identification card you must bring with you when you visit the dispensary. This card is acquired by submitting an application to the Department of Health’s Online Patient Registration System. Once your application is rigorously processed, you’ll receive your ID card in the mail.

CA vs. NY: Qualifying Conditions

MMJ Rec - headache

In New York, you must suffer from a life-threatening illness to get a medical marijuana prescription.

California medical marijuana laws are pretty relaxed when it comes to for what you can be prescribed MMJ. If your doctor thinks you have a genuine case for a prescription, then you’ll get it regardless of your ailment.

New York’s medical marijuana laws aren’t quite as embracing. In New York, you must suffer from a life-threatening illness such as HIV, Parkinson’s or ALS to get a medical marijuana prescription. Even then, your illness must exhibit significant symptoms such as chronic pain or seizures. These medical marijuana laws are becoming slightly more lax, with post-traumatic stress disorder thankfully getting added to the list of qualifying ailments, but doctors cannot and will not prescribe for anything other than the few illnesses that the law allows.

CA vs. NY: Medical Marijuana Consumption Methods

If you ask a Californian medical marijuana card holder what their favorite way to consume MMJ is, they could give you any kind of answer: smoking, edibles, teas, tinctures. You name a way and you can bet that Californian MMJ card carriers have tried it.

Unfortunately for their New York counterparts, the same level of flexibility is not accommodated. Under New York law, only liquids and oils (for inhalation and vaporization) and capsules are allowed to be used to consume medical marijuana. This means no edibles, no smoothies and absolutely no smoking. If you’re caught smoking medical marijuana in New York, you’ll find yourself in trouble with the law regardless of whether you have a medical marijuana card.

CA vs. NY: Home Cultivation of Medical Marijuana

Not only are certain methods of consumption illegal, but home cultivation is also illegal in New York — another contrast to California. On the Pacific Coast, you can grow up to six mature MMJ plants or 12 immature ones once you have a grower’s license. Although it is likely that New York will relax their medical marijuana laws to mirror California’s, this may not come to fruition for a while.

CA vs. NY: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

MMJ Recs - cannabis

New York law only allows for five companies to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana

Although California dispensaries could not be easier to find — and with new ones popping up all the time — New York law only allows for five companies to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. This will soon be changing as a law was passed late last year to bring this number up to 10.

CA vs. NY: Recreational Marijuana

Probably the biggest and most noticeable difference between Californian and New York medical marijuana laws is the fact that smoking marijuana for recreational reasons has been legalized in the Golden State. New York is likely to follow suit eventually, but until then, cannabis smoking is strictly for those with medical marijuana cards.

Although both states’ willingness to embrace medical marijuana should be lauded, we can’t forget that the plant is actually still illegal at a federal level in the United States. Thankfully, due to the federal government’s laissez-faire attitude on the topic, this is rarely ever an issue for medical marijuana card carriers in either state.

It’s easy to chastise New York and its draconian medical marijuana laws when we compare them to California’s, but we should refrain from doing so. Any sort of legalization is a step in the right direction, and once we see states moving progressively like this, we should be embracing them for it.

Getting Your New York Medical Marijuana Card

New York’s Health Commissioner Howard Zucker recently announced that chronic pain has been added to the list of medical conditions that qualify a patient for medical cannabis use in the state. This change in the law opens the door to many thousands of potential MMJ patients who may want to treat their chronic pain conditions with medical marijuana. If you decide to get a New York medical marijuana card, here are some things you need to remember.

Qualifying Conditions

The medical conditions that qualify you to get a New York medical marijuana card are cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, epilepsy, spinal cord injury with spasticity, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, or chronic pain. Whichever condition you have, it must also be accompanied by one of the following symptoms: severe nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, cachexia or wasting syndrome, or severe or chronic pain.

The March 22, 2017, introduction of chronic pain as a condition that qualifies a patient for medical marijuana use considerably broadened the scope of who can use MMJ in New York. Chronic pain is a symptom of many medical conditions, so its inclusion on the list makes it possible for many thousands of people with a whole host of illnesses that up until recently had been excluded from availing of medical marijuana.

MMJ Rec - medical cannabis

Chronic pain has been added to the list of medical conditions that qualify a patient for medical cannabis use in New York.

It is important to remember that, at this point in time, conditions such as depression, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder and rheumatoid arthritis do not qualify a person to get a cannabis card in New York.

Getting a New York Medical Marijuana Card

The first step to getting a medical marijuana card in New York is to contact a New York Department of Health-registered physician so they can decide whether you are eligible to use medical cannabis to treat your specific condition and symptoms.

On your doctor’s certificate, it should state the brand and form of approved medical cannabis product you are being prescribed, the administration method, any limitations on the use of that product as well as any dosage recommendations.

Registering as a Medical Cannabis User

Once you have your MMJ certificate from a registered physician, you need to register as a medicinal cannabis user with the New York Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program (this can be done through their online Patient Registration System). There is a non-refundable $50 application fee. But the department is currently waiving this fee for all patients and designated caregivers. To have the fee waived, select “Bill Me Later” when completing your online registration. When you have completed registration you will receive a Registry Identification Card, usually within seven working days. This Registry Identification Card is your marijuana card. Hurray!

When you have completed registration you will receive a Registry Identification Card, usually within seven working days. This Registry Identification Card is your marijuana card. Hurray!

Understanding Caregiver Rules

If a patient is a minor (under 18 years old) or incapable of consenting to medical treatment for some reason, the application can be made by a caregiver. A patient can have up to two caregivers. A caregiver can have up to five patients. A caregivers must be registered with the Department of Health, be over 21 years old, be a resident of New York and have a New York driver’s license or ID card, be either a parent or guardian of the patient, a person designated by the patient’s parent or guardian, or a suitable person approved by the Department of Health if no parent or legal guardian is available.

Buying Medical Marijuana in New York

Your New York medical marijuana card allows you to buy medical cannabis products in any one of the state’s dispensaries. The products available in New York dispensaries are limited to oils and liquids for vaporization or administration by inhaler, as well as orally administered tablets. Smoking cannabis is still banned, as are edibles.

MMJ Recs - smoking

Even with your New York medical marijuana card, smoking medical cannabis is still banned, as are edibles.

There are two mandated medical marijuana products that all New York dispensaries stock. One has a low-THC high-CBD ratio, and the other is a 50050 ratio. Each dispensary also has a variety of other MMJ products available that you can buy with your New York medical marijuana card.

Your card enables you to purchase a 30-day supply of medical cannabis products.

Sadly, your New York medical marijuana card does not allow you to cultivate your own herb in your own home. Hopefully, this will become an option in the not too distant future.

New York has one of the country’s newest programs, and it is still a little bit too limited, but at least the state has now got the ball rolling. The number of weed card holders in New York is rising steadily, and hopefully, the program will be tweaked and improved in the years to come.

Where Can I Find a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in New York?

Living ain’t quite as easy for New York MMJ card holders as for their fellow countrymen. Although other states — we’re looking at you, Cali! —have made it super simple to find a medical marijuana dispensary with one on nearly every block, they’re not quite as ubiquitous in the Empire State.

Sadly, this is not the only way New York differs from other states when it comes to medical marijuana laws. New York has its own unique restrictions on acquiring and using medical marijuana, and oftentimes, this is to the detriment of MMJ card holders living there. For example, did you know that you can’t smoke MMJ at all in New York? Or that you can’t consume it in edible form, either?

The strange and restrictive medical marijuana laws in New York have left MMJ card holders baffled as to why legislators have made them so strict. Our best guess is that they want to draw a clean line between recreational and medical users of cannabis by outlawing methods of consumption that are typically associated more with the former than the latter.

It’s also worth noting that you must suffer from a life-threatening illness to get New York medical marijuana certification. Illnesses that fit this description include HIV/AIDS, cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, your illness must exhibit “associative or complicated conditions” such as seizures or chronic pain. Thankfully, medical marijuana laws are becoming more inclusive with legislation signed to include post-traumatic stress disorder on the list of allowed illnesses for the New York medical marijuana program.

How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Certificate

MMJ Recs - cannabis

In keeping with the other strict New York medical marijuana laws, acquiring your MMJ card is slightly harder here than in other states.

Before you start to think about which medical marijuana dispensary you want to use and where to find it, you must first get your MMJ certificate. In keeping with the other strict New York medical marijuana laws, acquiring your MMJ card is slightly harder here than in other states. Your first step in getting your medical marijuana card is having a consultation with a doctor who is registered with the New York Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. This doctor will assess you and your condition for suitability for the program, and if they think you satisfy the necessary criteria, they’ll provide you with your medical marijuana certificate.

Although your certificate is the main piece of documentation that you need to bring with you when you visit the medical marijuana dispensary, you’ll also need to get yourself a Registry Identification Card for the Medical Marijuana Program. This is done online via the Department of Health’s online Patient Registration Program. Once you complete this — and your application is approved (which can, unfortunately, take a while) — they’ll send you your ID card.

If you will be visiting a medical marijuana dispensary and acquiring medical marijuana in your capacity as a carer, you’ll need to have your caregiver’s registry identification with you as well as your patient or loved one’s MMJ certificate. Failure to bring these will mean you will be denied service at the medical marijuana dispensary.

What Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in New York Offer

New York dispensaries are thankfully dotted relatively plentifully throughout the state. From Albany to Erie and from New York City to Westchester, you’ll find a medical marijuana dispensary in just about every corner of the Empire State. New York dispensaries offer medical marijuana in all legal forms, including tinctures, extracts, oils and liquids. All these forms come in different strengths, and you can choose whatever one that best suits you based on your ailment and treatment plan. Medical marijuana dispensary staff are pleasant and friendly and are always happy to assist customers in any way that they can.

Where You Can Buy Medical Marijuana in New York

MMJ Recs - NYC

For MMJ card holders who are too ill to travel to a medical marijuana dispensary, there are now some companies who will deliver MMJ straight to your door.

To find the nearest dispensary to you, check out this list from the Department of Health. Although this list may not seem extensive now, last year new medical marijuana laws were passed effectively doubling the number of companies who can dispense medical marijuana, which means you can expect more and more dispensaries to open up within the next year or two.

For MMJ card holders who are too ill to travel to a medical marijuana dispensary, there are now some companies who will deliver MMJ straight to your door. Companies such as Vireo Health have only in the past few weeks started their delivery service in New York City and Long Island, with a view to expand it to Westchester and Staten Island. This will eradicate the problem of traveling to dispensaries for people with debilitating diseases.

Although selling medical marijuana is a relatively new thing in New York, dispensaries are providing the same level of professionalism seen in other states that are more used to MMJ provision with medical centers such as Columbia Care leading the way. New York dispensaries are calm and relaxed spaces, and thankfully, they don’t feel clinical at all. An important aspect of New York dispensaries is their accessibility. Most — if not all — have been designed with accessibility in mind, which means that people of all physical ability can access them easily.

As New York’s medical marijuana laws become laxer, we’ll start to see more and more dispensaries sprout up around the state. At present, the majority of MMJ card holders do have access to a local medical marijuana dispensary, and soon anyone who doesn’t will be able to get their medical marijuana delivered straight to their home.

The Ultimate Guide to Medical Cannabis in New York

New York joined the medical cannabis revolution Jan. 6, 2017, albeit quite tentatively. Its program is limited by very strict rules and regulations, with tight restrictions in every direction. Even in its tightly bound state, New York’s new MMJ program is, of course, better than nothing.

The list of medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medical cannabis in New York is much more limited than in other MMJ-friendly states. HIV and AIDS, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, neuropathy, Huntington’s disease, spinal cord injury with spasticity, and chronic pain are the only conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana use. Additionally, the patient’s condition must include as a symptom either cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or persistent muscle spasms, nausea, seizures, or severe or chronic pain.

MMR rec - weed

The Department of Health is keeping an open mind about what conditions should qualify a patient for a New York medical marijuana card.

Chronic pain only became an eligible condition on March 22, 2017. This welcome addition makes it possible for a lot more people who suffer in the state to get a New York medical marijuana card. It also shows that the Department of Health is keeping an open mind about what conditions should qualify a patient.

Regarding the addition of chronic pain to the list, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker recently said: “Improving patient access to medical marijuana continues to be one of our top priorities, as it has been since the launch of the program. These key enhancements further that goal.”

Although chronic pain has been added to the list, it was recently announced that Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder and rheumatoid arthritis would not make a patient eligible. Scientists at the Department of Health researched a slew of papers and decided that evidence was not yet sufficient that these conditions would be adequately helped by medical cannabis use. However, they said that they are willing to change their mind if new research suggests otherwise.

No Smoking Medical Cannabis Allowed

MMJ Rec - smoking

Patients should be given more choice in how they ingest their medical cannabis in New York.

The methods of medical cannabis ingestion that are allowed are also very limited. Smoking and edibles are not permitted. Only capsules or liquids and oils that can be taken from a vaporizer or inhaler are allowed.

For a patient who wishes to avail of medical marijuana in New York, they must contact a medical practitioner who is registered with the New York Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. The practitioner must then decide whether medical cannabis is appropriate for the patient’s condition.

The practitioner then gives the patient a certificate. The certificate must state the authorized brand and form of medical marijuana, the administration method, and any limitations on the use of medical marijuana for that patient. If there is a recommended dosage this must also be stated on the cert, too.

Where to Buy Medical Marijuana in New York

Once the patient acquires a certificate, they must register with the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. This can be done through the department’s online Patient Registration System. Once the registration has been processed, the patient will receive a Registry Identification Card. This card enables the purchasing of medical marijuana products at registered dispensaries.

Dispensaries are located all over the state. See a list of New York MMJ dispensaries here. All dispensaries stock two state-mandated medical cannabis products: one with an equal THC-to-CBD ratio, and one with a low-THC-high-CBD ratio. Each dispensary also stocks a variety of other MMJ products with varying THC to CBD ratios. Prices and opening hours vary amongst dispensaries, and many offer home delivery services. A patient may purchase up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis products at a time. A patient can buy their medical marijuana products from any dispensary in New York.

Patients with MMJ cards from other states may not use them to purchase medical marijuana in New York.

Unfortunately, home cultivation is not allowed.

A patient can have up to two caregivers. A caregiver must be over 21 and either a parent or guardian of the patient, a person designated by a parent or guardian, or a person approved by the Department of Health upon sufficient evidence that no suitable parent or guardian is available. A caregiver must also be a resident of New York and have a valid state driver’s license or state ID card. A caregiver must register with the Department of Health, and each caregiver may serve no more than five patients.

How to Improve the New York Medical Marijuana Program

So, the New York medical marijuana program is certainly far from perfect. It could be improved in many ways.

The list of qualifying conditions could be expanded to include various psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic anxiety and depression.

Patients could be given more choice in how they ingest their medical cannabis. For example, smokable and edible cannabis products could be introduced.

The option to cultivate organic herb at home would also be a welcome amendment to the current medical marijuana laws.

But even with all this room for improvement, it is still very encouraging to see New York’s fledgling MMJ program up and running. Improvements will surely come in time, but for now, good enough is good enough.

How to Get Your New York MMJ Card: 3 Easy Steps

In July 2014, New York became the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana, following a ‘lengthy and emotional’ debate in the Senate. It ultimately saw the Compassionate Care Act bill being supported by a 49-10 Senate vote.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has made no secret of his staunch anti-marijuana stance in the past, signed the bill into law, opening an 18-month window for the New York Department of Health to come up with a viable and complicit MMJ program. The completed program was subsequently launched on January 7th.

While this was great news for suffering patients who were desperately awaiting the legalization of MMJ, the bill raised a few eyebrows due to it being one of the most restrictive in the country. For the usually forward-thinking New York, it was a concerning conservative move, and one that seemed regressive in the face of pioneering MMJ states like California and Colorado. Only five MMJ producers were licensed by the DOH, and only twenty dispensaries were permitted state-wide.

It was also pretty tough to get your hands on an all-important MMJ card, as the list of qualifying conditions was limited to severe illnesses like cancer, ALS, and Parkinson’s. This made doctors wary of prescribing MMJ; if the patient’s condition was seen as borderline or questionable, the doctor could be prosecuted for illegal distribution.

Thankfully, in the months that followed, leading up to the present, mid-2017, progress was made due to near constant campaigning from MMJ advocates. It is now much easier to secure an MMJ card in New York, as the blanket term ‘chronic pain‘ was added to the list of qualifying conditions. Obviously this has a medically broader reach and gives doctors more freedom in prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment plan.

MMJ Recs - Green Cannabis

There are a few basic steps to follow before you get your New York MMJ card.

But there are a few hoops to jump through before you can access your medicine:

Step One

The first step in getting your MMJ state ID card, the all important key to the kingdom, is finding a certified medical practitioner who can recommend you medical marijuana as a remedy. Locating a doctor is quite simple in 2017; you can visit one in real life, or even avail of handy online caregivers, who will happily certify you legally for an MMJ card, as long as your condition meets the state’s requirements.

Once you have that, there’s a little bit more due process to get through; but fear not, you’re almost there.

Step Two

Once certified, you head on over to https://my.ny.gov/ and find the ‘Health Applications’ icon. Once there, locate the ‘Medical Marijuana Data Management System’ link to register yourself. Bear in mind, you will need an NY.gov account to set up your registration; if you don’t have this, it’s simple to create one, and you can follow the link from the MMJ registration page.

Another important thing to keep in mind during the registration process is that you’ll need to provide proof of identity and residency in New York state. An NY-issued driver’s license is pretty perfect for this as it works for both requirements, but if you don’t drive, you can still use a passport photo taken within the last thirty days, and an official document like a utility bill or government-issued letter sent to you within the last two months.

MMJ Recs - New York Taxi Cab

An NY-issued driver’s license can be used to register for a MMJ card in New York.

The Compassionate Care Act states there is a $50 filing fee necessary for all applications, but the kind folks at the Department of Health are currently waiving that fee for all patients and caregivers. If you select the ‘Bill Me Later’ option during this stage, the fee will be waived and you’ll be relieved of this particular financial burden.

If your illness or condition incapacitates you, the next and final stage of the application process allows you to designate up to two caregivers who can collect your medicine for you. These caregivers have to be registered, and must bring their registration with them when collecting the MMJ, as well as their patient’s certifications.

Step Three

Once you’ve completed that step, the only thing left to do is sit back and wait for your ID card to be delivered to you!

After your card arrives, there are a few things to keep in mind as you begin benefiting from your medicine. One important point is that you must keep your MMJ ID card on you whenever you’re carrying medical marijuana, not just when you buy it at the dispensary. The safest bet is probably to keep it on you at all times, like you would a bank card. That way you’ll never be caught short if someone happens to question you on your MMJ.

Also, if you change addresses, or for some reason your name, you’ll need to notify Medical Marijuana Program as soon as possible so they can issue a new card.

MMJ is still finding its feet in New York, but the signs are good that things are changing for the better. As more conditions are added to the qualifying list and it gets easier for patients to benefit from medical marijuana, distribution and dispensaries across the state should grow and multiply, making MMJ available to all who require it.