Who Can Prescribe Medical Marijuana In New York?

When New York decriminalized cannabis in 2019, it opened the doors for many people with various health conditions to use medical marijuana to treat their ailments. Since then, both recreational and medical cannabis have been legalized in the state. But for those with qualifying conditions, getting a medical marijuana card may seem like a daunting task.

There are several key steps that need to be taken to get a card in the state. First, you must have a verified condition that is being treated through other means with your primary care physician. You must then speak to your doctor about medical marijuana and how it could benefit you. From there, you’ll need to qualify and apply for all the proper documentation. While this seems like an arduous process, for those with certain conditions, it could be well worth it. 

medical marijuana plants
Image by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash: What qualifies for medical marijuana in NY?

Who can prescribe medical marijuana in New York?

As mentioned above, there is a set group of physicians you can see to get approved for a medical marijuana card. Not all appointments need to be done face-to-face; in fact, it’s possible to obtain a medical marijuana card through an online application at MMJ Recs.

Types of medical professionals that can approve a medical marijuana application include:

  • Family physicians
  • Oncologists
  • Neurologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Specialty physicians that work in internal medicine, pain management, infectious disease, and emergency care
  • Rheumatologists

Qualifying conditions for medical card in NY

The qualifying conditions for a medical card vary from state to state. When it comes to the state of New York, their list is clearly outlined and consists of several different health disorders. The conditions considered for a medical marijuana card are usually severe, debilitating, or possibly life-threatening.

Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in New York include:

  • Cancer
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • A spinal cord injury with spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Chronic pain that disrupts daily life and functional capabilities (medical marijuana in this instance is to be used as an alternative treatment to opioids or in the instance of substance abuse disorder)

These conditions must severely hinder a person’s ability to participate in typical daily activities and can be accompanied by certain associated conditions such as:

  • Cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome
  • Severe or chronic pain that inhibits daily life
  • Severe nausea that causes a person to be unable to eat throughout the day
  • Seizures
  • Muscles spasms that are both severe and persistent
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
hand holding medical marijuana buds
Image by Nicole Plunkett on Unsplash: What type of doctor can prescribe medical marijuana in NY? 

How can I get a medical card in New York?

Getting a medical marijuana card in New York requires you to seek out a doctor registered with the Medical Marijuana Program who has given the consent for their name to be publicly listed. Once you’ve found such a doctor, you must be certified to receive medical marijuana based on your symptoms and condition. Following your certification, you will have to register with the state of New York and create an account on their website.

During their registration process, you may wish to designate two people as caregivers on your application. This will give those caregivers the ability to get a medical card on your behalf. If a caregiver or caregivers are listed, they must also register with the state in the same way you did as the patient.

Following the registration, a temporary registration number will be given to you or your caregivers, and you can use it with a government-issued identification. This government ID must have a photo to be eligible. With your temporary number and your photo ID, you will then be able to go to any approved medical marijuana dispensary and purchase cannabis products. The card must be brought to the dispensary with every visit for you to be given access to medical marijuana products. Whenever you have MMJ products on your person, you must also have the card with you.

How much is a medical marijuana card in NY?

To obtain a medical marijuana card in New York, you must pay a registration application fee of $50. This fee covers the costs associated with the application. At the time of writing, the $50 fee for the registration application is being waived for all patients and their caregivers due to the Compassionate Care Act.

Featured image by Tania Fernandez on Unsplash

What The New York Legal Cannabis Bill Means For MMJ Cardholders

Recent legislation has passed to make cannabis legal in another US state. The latest news on legalization in NY is that residents of the Big Apple are no longer prohibited from using recreational marijuana. Wondering what the New York legal cannabis bill means for MMJ cardholders? Read all about it below.

What is the new legal cannabis bill in New York?

On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalizes adult-use cannabis in New York state. This legislation also created a new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) that will be governed by a Cannabis Control Board (made up of five members) that will help oversee and implement this new legislation.

The New York legalization 2021 bill details that a one-of-a-kind regulatory board will be implemented to oversee the licensing, cultivating, producing, distributing, selling, and taxing of cannabis in the state. The MRTA covers medical marijuana (MMJ), recreational use by adults, and cannabinoid hemp.

legal medical marijuana on white surface
Image by Ndispensable on Unsplash: A new bill has passed that will legalize recreational marijuana in New York state.

What does the new legalization bill mean for recreational users?

The bill states that, starting immediately, possession and use of up to three ounces of cannabis by anyone 21 and over is completely legal in the state of New York. The delivery of recreational marijuana is now also legal and, in the near future, some businesses can open lounges (also known as consumption sites) where cannabis can be used legally. It also means that individuals can cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home (indoors or outdoors) for their own personal use.

While these elements can take place right away, there’s still most likely going to be a long wait for other aspects of the MRTA to occur. For example, officials will now need to draft the rules that will control the market, including how to allow the growth and retail markets to work and how to set up licensing. There will also likely be regulations set up for the creation of new taxes surrounding recreational marijuana. The revenue in taxes will most likely be millions of dollars; legislators have noted that this revenue in sales could be reinvested back into minority communities. Another positive change could be the end of racially disproportionate policing that has negatively impacted Black and Hispanic communities on low-level marijuana charges in the past.

When will dispensaries open in New York?

Some dispensaries are already open for medical marijuana patients, but it could take up to a year for the state to open recreational cannabis vendors. Once all of the regulations and selling avenues have been established, experts estimate there could be as many as 1,000 retail outlets across the state of New York where individuals can buy legal cannabis. The MRTA also states that home delivery could be implemented once regulations are in place. This means that marijuana will be much easier to access for both recreational and medicinal use.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana in hand
Image by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash: MMJ cardholders will have better access to the products they need as the bill is being implemented.

How will the bill affect MMJ cardholders?

If you’ve read the NY legalization news, you might be wondering how the MRTA will impact MMJ users. At this time, there are several approved medical marijuana options (including capsules, tablets, metered liquid, oil tinctures, vaping, and topical and transdermal patches). This new law will allow smoking marijuana to be legalized, as well as other forms of cannabis. Edibles will also be among the options that are now legalized. This means that MMJ cardholders could have better access to the products they need to help treat their symptoms.

However, because it’s going to take at least a year to implement all of these changes, it may still be beneficial for people to use medical marijuana versus recreational usage. If individuals have a qualifying condition (which can range from anything from glaucoma to anxiety), they can talk to their doctor about getting an MMJ card in New York. There are still benefits cardholders can get that the general public won’t have yet. Legal home cultivation and growth of marijuana plants, for example, could take up to 18 months before recreational users are allowed to take part – but it would be a much shorter wait for MMJ users. MMJ cardholders also have the advantage of having access to dispensaries that aren’t open to the general public yet.

There will likely be a ton of changes occurring regarding the usage of both medical and recreational marijuana over the next year. MMJ cardholders should research how to buy and use their MMJ products so that they’re always in good standing with the law. For recreational users, there are still regulations to follow (especially on growing cannabis for personal use). Keep up with the components of the MRTA to stay on the right side of the law, and apply for an MMJ card if you have a medical condition that qualifies.

Featured image by Colton Duke on Unsplash

What Is The Legal Amount Of MMJ You Can Carry In New York?

Medical marijuana in New York has been legal since legislation for the Compassionate Care Act was passed in June of 2014. This has given residents of the state access to the relief that MMJ can provide for a plethora of different conditions. There are many illnesses that qualify for medical marijuana, and anyone with the proper documentation and medical marijuana card can use it to help them cope.

However, there are certain limitations that New York MMJ users face. These laws are put in place to keep the use of medical marijuana for treating chronic illness safe and effective. It’s important to know these rules – for example: what is the legal amount of MMJ you can carry in New York?

MMJ In New York

New York State implemented the New York State Medical Marijuana Program to help patients gain access to this treatment option while following all the rules and regulations surrounding possession and use of cannabis intended for medical use. In NY, medical marijuana can be bought and ingested with a proper medical card and appropriate diagnosis.

Medicaid, or other health insurances, do not cover the use of medical marijuana for any chronic illness, and thus, those looking to supplement their treatment with cannabis will have to pay out of pocket. However, the processes that patients go through such as evaluation and certification are covered by New York State Medicaid.

MMJRecs - pills
Image by Christina Victoria Craft on Unsplash: Medical marijuana in New York State is approved in a few forms, including pills and capsules.

New York Drug Laws

The drug laws in New York State are virtually the same as they had been prior to the legalization of medical marijuana. Patients are limited in where they can get their marijuana, because only 20 or less dispensaries are able to operate across the state. The particular facilities that are allowed to sell medical marijuana must only sell cannabis in non-smokable form.

The growth, possession, use, or selling of recreational marijuana in any amount is still illegal in the state of New York and penalties are still in place that range in severity from a fine to jail time, depending on the charge. The good news is that a law is in place that allows people previously charged with possession of small amounts of marijuana to have their criminal records expunged in relation to that charge.  

How Much Medical Marijuana Can You Carry In New York?

For a person with a New York MMJ card, the amount of MMJ they can have at any given time isn’t entirely clear. This is because the state allows card holders to buy “a 30-day supply” of medical marijuana at a time. Since medical practitioners are in charge of prescribing dosing, this numbers may vary from patient to patient depending on their own personal needs.

There is a New York State Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) that compiles data from all patients so that doctors can review each patient’s history thoroughly and make a treatment plan and amount on a case-by-case basis. All medical marijuana purchases are also added to the PMP database. To purchase and carry medical marijuana in the state of New York, a person must have also been certified with a New York State registry identification card. No out-of-state cards are accepted.

Is Flower Legal In NY?

Smoking of cannabis is illegal in the state of New York, whether it is medical or recreational. However, the laws do not clearly state that cannabis in the dried flower form is illegal to possess by a person with a certified medical marijuana card. All forms of medical cannabis need to first be approved by the commissioner, including the dried flower form.

Since the New York State Department of Health has also urged medical marijuana users to avoid vape products because of their possible link to pulmonary illnesses, the use of dried flowers is typically difficult without being able to smoke or vape.

MMJRecs - marijuana products
Image by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash: MMJ flower may not technically be illegal in New York State, but its main ingestion methods are.

Are Edibles Legal In New York State?

Edibles are currently prohibited in the state; however, the law allows for food and beverage manufacturers to create edibles using only cannabidiol (CBD) without the THC component. The forms of medical marijuana that patients have legal access to ingest include capsules, liquids, sprays, oils, and vaporizers. 

The legalization of medical marijuana in New York State has given many individuals with chronic illnesses a chance for new treatment options. Each patient is different, which is why the law provides a loose definition of how much a person can carry at one time – a 30-day supply – so that each patient can get their allotted amount to help with their specific condition.

Featured image by Tania Fernandez on Unsplash

Why New York MMJ Patients Will Need a Medical Marijuana Card After 2018

Compared to its sister on the west coast, New York is surprisingly conservative when it comes to medical marijuana. Since 1996, the Golden State has allowed people with a range of illnesses and conditions access to this miracle drug, and it has improved countless lives since then.

However, New York has only legalized medical marijuana in 2014, and the conditions that you must meet to qualify are long and strict. Coming into 2018, there are several things that you’ll need to know if you’re a New Yorker who wants to use medical marijuana.

Conditions for Medical Marijuana Use

MMJ Recs - Hopsice Patient and Worker

If you live in New York and want to use medical marijuana, make sure your condition is on the approved list set by the government.

Firstly, the list of conditions that render you eligible for MMJ is quite limited in New York. There are only certain ailments that qualify you to receive medical marijuana, and the laws are very strict in adhering to the recommendation of MMJ to them.

If you suffer from cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord damage with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, chronic pain, chronic nausea, severe muscle spasms, cachexia or Huntington’s Disease, you will be eligible for treatment with medical marijuana, but depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions are sadly not covered.

The good news is that, effective in 2017, medical professionals will be able to recommend treatment of medical marijuana to patients online, and they will not have to undergo an in-person consultation in order to receive their medical marijuana card. However, it is not the only documentation that you will need in order to receive an MMJ recommendation.

MMJ Recs - Medical Doctor

Effective this year, medical professionals can recommend treatment of MMJ to patients online.

As well as the recommendation from a healthcare professional, you will need to gather your medical records, outlining that you suffer from one of the approved conditions for treatment by medical marijuana. You then have to submit these documents, along with proof that you are a resident of the state of New York, to the state authority. Then you will receive your medical marijuana card, which will allow you access to state dispensaries.

Another thing to remember when applying for a medical marijuana card in New York is that your medical professional will have to recommend the strain for your treatment and you will only be able to buy this specific strain. This eliminates any chance for experimentation with different treatment types and forms.

It is very important to have a clear and honest discussion with the medical professional who is carrying out your consultation so that they can decide what is the best course of treatment for you.

All About MMJ Laws in New York

Since bringing in its laws in 2014, New York is slowly but surely relaxing them. Certain conditions have been added since the laws were brought in and there is no limitation on the potential of conditions that can be added. This is at the discretion of the state governor, so depending on the politics of upcoming politicians, more conditions may be added to assist citizens of New York.

Campaigners are fighting for looser laws that will help more patients, but this will take time and is dependent on sympathetic legislators taking medical marijuana seriously as a legitimate treatment for numerous ailments.

MMJ Recs - MMJ Rolled

Dispensaries in New York, which are limited in numbers, can only dispense certain forms of medical marijuana to patients.

Laws regarding dispensaries in New York are also very strict. Dispensaries can only dispense certain forms of medical marijuana to patients depending on their recommendations, and there is a limit on the amount of dispensaries that can be operated by the same owner. Dispensaries must also be fully registered with the state and will undergo regular inspections to ensure that they are operating to the full letter of the law.

It is also very important to remember that the personal cultivation of medical marijuana is still illegal, despite medical marijuana being legal. If you are able to access medical marijuana in New York, you are still unable to grow it for yourself. All MMJ must be accessed and purchased through a state-sanctioned dispensary through the form recommended for you by a medical professional. You will be liable for legal consequences if you grow your own medical marijuana.

MMJ Recs - Smoking Shisha

As more people become educated about the benefits of medical marijuana, more states will start to legalize it.

While these limitations are frustrating, especially given the much more liberal laws in other states, the future is likely to be easier for medical marijuana patients. As stigma is reduced and the world at large becomes more educated about the benefits of MMJ, legislation will follow.

The public are mostly sympathetic to patients being treated with medical marijuana and the stereotype of stoners trying to circumvent the legal system is slowly but surely being demolished. The best thing to do if you live in New York is to live to the letter of the law, carry on taking your medication as advised, and hopefully as time goes on and the law is relaxed, everyone who needs treatment with MMJ will be allowed to access it in New York.

Why New Yorkers are Waking Up to the Benefits of Medical Marijuana

By the time the Empire State legalized medical marijuana back in 2014, New Yorkers had already been acutely aware of its many benefits. Not only had they been inundated with news from other cannabis card states, but they had also been witness to countless legalization rallies, all of which spread the good message of this wonder drug.

Now that New Yorkers are three years into their own MMJ card program, they’re more aware than ever of just how great the plant really is.

The Reputation of MMJ

Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case. Unlike other medications, medical marijuana has been the subject of a decades-long smear campaign. For eons, MMJ had been synonymous with thuggery, addiction and abuse, all thanks to the proliferation of lies and misinformation about the plant.

This campaign reached a head with the ‘War on Drugs’, spearheaded by Richard Nixon in the 1970s, who dubbed drug abuse “public enemy number one”. The lies that spread during this time had long-lasting effects on the status of medical marijuana in society. Any inkling of legalization that was on the horizon was instantly dashed, and left in a smoldering pile on the floor of the legislator’s office.

As this reputation started to subside, more people started to wake up to the massive benefits that medical marijuana could provide to millions of Americans lives. California was the first to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, with other states following suit over the next two decades.

As New Yorkers had seen more than 20 of their neighbors legalize MMJ before them, they had become aware of the benefits of the plant. By the time medical marijuana cards were introduced to New York, most of the negative connotations associated with the drug had been debunked, and MMJ was now finally recognized as the wonder drug that it is.

Medical Cannabis: An Effective Alternative

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Plant

MMJ is an effective alternative to treating serious illnesses with side effects like anxiety and depression.

Medical marijuana is being used statewide by New Yorkers as an effective, gentle alternative to traditional modern medicines. The medication that is often prescribed for MMJ compatible conditions can be incredibly harsh on the body. Side effects exhibited from the use of hard medications can include depression, anxiety, extreme nausea, tiredness and chronic headaches. While it would be foolish to say that medical marijuana could be completely substituted for any medication, for some less serious illnesses, this is possible.

Patients who are on vital modern medications can also opt to consume medical marijuana as a way of combating the side effects of these medications. A total substitution of a treatment plan cannot always be done, but using the two medications concurrently with one another can be a match made in heaven. Medical marijuana has long been observed to effectively treat typical side effects from harsh medication like stomach pain, muscle spasms and lethargy.

As chronic pain was recently added to the list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card, New Yorkers are now becoming aware of just how effective a pain reliever it really is. Outside of New York, pain relief is the number one reason that patients apply for an MMJ card. Medical marijuana tackles pain by boosting the endocannabinoids within the body. Furthermore, the THC present in MMJ is an extremely potent pain reliever and when twinned with CBD it works twice as well.

Not only is medical marijuana an excellent pain reliever, it is also effective at tackling the symptoms of a large number of diseases. The severity of the disease is unimportant in this effectiveness, as shown by the fact that you can only get a medical marijuana card for a life-threatening illness in New York. MMJ is thorough at treating associative symptoms such as muscle spasms, seizures and depression, meaning that patients are relieved of the more disruptive aspects of their illness.

Recent Medical Marijuana Legislation

MMJ Recs - Statue of Liberty

Instead of money going into the hands of criminals, MMJ legalization is making New York a much safer state.

Medical Marijuana legislation is big business for the state itself. Recently, California raked in a massive 2.7 billion in marijuana sales across the state – yes, that’s a ‘b’ not an ‘m’! Although the average medical marijuana card holder wouldn’t care much about the massive market this is creating, MMJ sales contribute to the revenue of the state, meaning that it has more money to spend on roads, schools and hospitals. As money is going to the state that once went straight into the hands of criminals, MMJ legalization is making New York communities safer as drug dealers are forced off the streets.

If New York is to rubber stamp the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act that is currently being tabled by legislators, we’ll see even more of a boom in state revenue. This act will essentially legalize all uses of marijuana, regulating it in the same way that alcohol currently is. The market boost that this would bring is a serious motivator for New York state legislators to further the total decriminalization of marijuana.

New York – like the rest of the world – has finally woken up to the wonderful benefits of medical marijuana. As full legalization starts to spread across America, MMJ acceptance will become commonplace, and New York medical marijuana card holders will reap the benefits. Once New York sees the total decriminalization of marijuana, we can realistically expect all the other states to follow suit soon after.

 

Will Medical Marijuana in New York Match California in Popularity?

The Californian medical marijuana card program is a shining beacon of MMJ best practice. Those who need to get an MMJ card can do so easily, and without many stipulations delaying the process. As Cali MMJ card holders face so little roadblocks in accessing marijuana, they’re rarely left unnecessarily suffering. This ease of access means that medical marijuana is naturally very popular in California.

California not only makes getting a medical marijuana card very easy, but it also has the infrastructure in place to deal with the high demand. Dispensaries are dotted generously throughout the state, meaning that regardless of where you are, you can easily acquire MMJ.

Unfortunately, not all states can mirror Cali’s wonderful MMJ laws. While New York has been making some concrete steps towards becoming more MMJ-friendly since its legalization in 2014, roadblocks still exist for medical marijuana card holders looking to acquire the plant.

Access to MMJ in New York

MMJ Recs - NYC at Night

Because many physicians in New York are reluctant to prescribe medical marijuana, people outside of Manhattan have a very tough time accessing it.

As New York’s medical marijuana laws are still in their infancy, doctors – especially doctors outside of the city – are unsure of how to toe the line in regards who they can and can’t prescribe MMJ to. For this reason, a lot of physicians around the state are very reluctant to prescribe MMJ, with most of them point blank refusing to prescribe it at all for fear that they’d lose their license. This means that medical marijuana card carriers living outside of Manhattan have a very tough time accessing MMJ.

A lot of prospective MMJ card holders simply cannot make hour-long trips to willing doctors due to the fact that they are oftentimes limited in their movements by their ailment. This unfortunate situation means that the popularity of medical marijuana in New York is dwarfed by that of California.

Medical Marijuana Ailments

In New York, the list of qualifying ailments deemed suitable for the medical marijuana program is much shorter than that of the Sunshine State. In most cases, you must have a life-threatening illness such as MS, AIDS or cancer in order to be considered for the program. This is further complicated by the fact that your illness must also present you with significant life-limiting symptoms like chronic pain or muscle spasms.

A huge number of Californians would have their medical marijuana card in order to treat ailments that are not deemed suitable in New York. Medical marijuana is used to treat all manner of illnesses in California like depression, anxiety, epilepsy and PTSD, and these generous laws are what give life to its popularity there.

Until New York loosens what it considers to be an allowable condition for MMJ treatment, the popularity of medical marijuana in the state will continue to dwindle.

New York vs California MMJ Laws

The banning of certain consumption methods is another thing attributed to the low popularity of medical marijuana in New York. There is a blanket ban on smoking MMJ across the entirety of the state. Most people attribute this to the fact that weed skeptic Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to distance New York’s medical marijuana laws from consumption methods that would typically be associated with recreational users, rather than users with MMJ cards.

For this same suspected reason, the consumption of medical marijuana edibles in New York is banned, too. While most MMJ card carriers could get over the smoking ban, banning edibles is a tougher pill to swallow. As ingesting your medical marijuana has tons of benefits, it is the consumption method of choice for a lot of cannabis card holders across the country. The outright ban of edibles has thusly negatively impacted upon the popularity of MMJ in New York.

A lot of the contributing factors as to why medical marijuana is so much less popular in New York than in California can easily be put down to the fact that New York’s medical marijuana laws are much younger than California’s – by a whopping 18 years! Having legalized MMJ all the way back in 1996, California weed legislation has gone through many evolutions, eventually giving rise to the super MMJ-friendly state we have today.

MMJ Recs - Golden Gate Bridge

Medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, making the Golden State a trailblazer for other MMJ-friendly states.

As weed has been a mainstay of Californian health law since the 90s, it’s more normalized there than it is in New York. Adding to that the fact that recently California announced that it would be legalizing the drug entirely, it’s no wonder that the popularity here outnumbers that of New York so starkly.

Recent New York Medical Marijuana Bills

Thankfully for New Yorkers, the Empire State is moving closer and closer to full legalization of marijuana every day. Recently, two bills were submitted by NY legislators that would potentially create regulations that would see marijuana being taxed and controlled in the same way that alcohol currently is. Not only would this create a huge influx of revenue for the state, but it would also mean that those caught in possession of up to two ounces of marijuana would face no criminal charges – way to go New York!

Eventually, medical marijuana will be just as popular in New York as it is in California. Until then, we’ve just gotta be happy that New York – like a lot of other states – is slowly but surely moving towards being much more MMJ-friendly.