How Long Does It Take To Get A Medical Marijuana Card In NY?

Medical marijuana is helping people in New York State to treat the symptoms of a wide range of medical conditions. The state has a well-run MMJ program that is patient-friendly and easy to navigate.

Below, we’ll outline the process of applying for a medical marijuana card in New York, and will answer the question: how long does it take to get a medical marijuana card in NY?

Is It Hard To Get A Med Card In NY?

Not at all! The process of applying for a New York medical marijuana card is straightforward. The entire process can be completed online, including the medical consultation and application submission.

Do I Have To Be A Resident Of New York To Get A NY Medical Card?

Yes, you must either be a resident of New York State or be temporarily residing in the state to get a NY medical card.

NY residents need to prove residency by providing the ID number from their State Driver’s License or Non-Driver ID Card. Temporary residents need to prove their status by providing one of the following documents:

  • A copy of a lease
  • Landlord letter
  • A utility bill
  • A hospital bill
  • Other documentation as approved by the Department containing information that proves temporary residency in New York State
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How Do I Become A Legal Medical Marijuana Patient In New York?

The process of becoming a legal MMJ patient in New York is easy to navigate. The first step is to have a consultation with a state-licensed medical professional. This can be done remotely via video consultation.

Once you have received medical certification, you can submit your MMJ card application through the my.NY web portal.

How Do I Set Up An Appointment With A Licensed Medical Marijuana Doctor In New York?

The best way to set up an appointment with a licensed medical marijuana doctor in New York is to visit the MMJRecs online clinic. MMJRecs will arrange a video consultation with a state-licensed physician who will verify your suitability for MMJ treatment in NY and certify your MMJ application.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Medical Marijuana Card In NY?

Your medical consultation will take approximately 10 minutes. Once the consultation is complete, your approval letter will be emailed to you the next day at the latest. You can then apply for your NY MMJ card through the my.NY web portal.

Once you apply, you will be given a downloadable temporary MMJ license that you can use immediately. This license is valid for 30 days. If you provide the ID number from your State Driver’s License or Non-Driver ID Card, you will be able to download the temporary license immediately. If you are providing another form of evidence of residency, it will take three days to process, after which time you can download your temporary license.

Your permanent card application will take between one and two weeks to be processed and will then be mailed to your address.

How Long Do New York Medical Cards Take To Arrive?

You’ll receive your permanent New York MMJ card in the mail once your application has been approved, and it usually takes around seven to ten days for your card to arrive at your address.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A New York MMJ Card?

You will qualify for a New York medical marijuana card if you have any of the following medical conditions:

  • 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 pursuant to article 32 of the mental hygiene law)
  • 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 Can I Purchase At NY Dispensaries?

You can purchase the following medical marijuana products in New York dispensaries:

  • MMJ flower
  • Edibles
  • Vape cartridges
  • Lozenges, capsules, and tablets
  • Tinctures and sprays
  • Topicals and lotions
  • CBD wellness products
  • MMJ and CBD powders
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New York MMJ Possession Limits

New York MMJ cardholders can purchase and possess up to a 60-day supply of medical marijuana at a time from NY dispensaries.

Can I Grow Medical Marijuana In New York With A NY MMJ Card?

Yes, you can legally grow medical marijuana in New York if you have a NY MMJ card. Cardholders can cultivate up to six medical marijuana plants at home at any one time.

Where Are New York MMJ Cards Valid?

You can use your NY medical marijuana card in any New York MMJ dispensary, and also in any US state that practices MMJ card reciprocity.

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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.

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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
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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.

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How Long Does It Take To Get A Medical Marijuana Card In New York?

Medical marijuana (MMJ) has been legal in the state of New York since the Compassionate Care Act was passed in June 2014. This allowed NY residents who needed MMJ to access it safely, within limitations. Since then, New York’s MMJ scene has expanded rapidly. It was officially decriminalized in 2019, and as of March 2021, has become legal for adult recreational use as well as medical use.

It will take some time for NY to open its first recreational dispensaries. But MMJ dispensaries are currently open, and the safest and easiest way to access MMJ in the state of New York is with a New York MMJ card. This guarantees you access to the wide variety of MMJ products available for sale at the state’s dispensaries.

Who qualifies for a NY medical marijuana card?

MMJ can help with a wide variety of health conditions. It can ease the physical pain associated with many chronic conditions, as well as providing relief for tension or mental anguish. In the state of New York, the following conditions can qualify you for a NY medical marijuana card:

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

If your condition isn’t on the list but you feel you would benefit from MMJ treatment, be sure to consult a medical professional for more info.

marijuana seedling plant
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How long does MMJ approval take in NY?

Applying for a NY MMJ card is a simple and efficient process. Simply apply for your online consultation with a licensed NY medical professional through the MMJRecs online portal. After you complete a quick questionnaire and upload a copy of your driver’s license, you will be scheduled for a consultation. This is usually a quick process where you and the physician will discuss the NY MMJ program and your medical history. If the physician considers you a suitable candidate, you will receive an email within 24–48 hours of your consultation containing your certification and instructions for registration with the state of NY.

You can use this certification, along with proof of identity and proof of residency, to register with the New York State Department of Health online. After this has been processed, you will receive a temporary printable NY MMJ card via email. You can use this to purchase MMJ at NY dispensaries for 30 days, but you should receive your physical registry ID card within 3–10 days.

As you can see, MMJ approval time in New York is not very long! The application process is simple and can be done entirely online, from the comfort of your own home.

Can a doctor prescribe marijuana in New York?

Only a licensed medical professional can evaluate your suitability for a NY MMJ card. Your consultation and evaluation can be done online with MMJRecs, so there is no need to visit a doctor face-to-face.

The following medical professionals are licensed to certify applications for MMJ cards in NY:

  • Family physicians
  • Oncologists
  • Neurologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Specialty physicians
  • Rheumatologists
new york city street at night
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Once you have your New York MMJ card, you are free to purchase up to 30 days’ supply of MMJ each month at state dispensaries. The amount of MMJ prescribed to you depends on the dosing instructions given by the medical professional who evaluates you. This is done on a case-by-case basis. No out-of-state cards are currently accepted at NY dispensaries, meaning you have to have a NY MMJ card to avail of MMJ at any dispensaries in the state of New York.

More and more people are realizing the wealth of benefits associated with MMJ, and it’s becoming more and more accessible to those who need it with the availability of state-issued MMJ cards. The NY MMJ card is no exception; it allows the holder to access the MMJ they need easily, safely, and affordably. The timeframe for obtaining a NY MMJ card is short, and the whole process can be done online with ease. Check out MMJRecs to get started with your application today.

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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
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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
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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.

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Why Getting an MMJ Card in New York is Harder Than in California

It’s pretty safe to say that California medical marijuana card holders have it pretty easy. MMJ laws in the Sunshine State are famously lax, meaning that acquiring a cannabis card can be done in a few short minutes from the comfort of your own home. Soon, California’s marijuana laws will become even better when state wide legalization is introduced – way to go Cali!

Unfortunately, on the east coast, New York MMJ card carriers aren’t afforded the same weed friendly legislation. Since its legalization in 2014 by Andrew Cuomo, medical marijuana in New York hasn’t been easy to come by. Acquiring an MMJ card has been a legal minefield fraught with uncertainty. As a result, many people suffering from medical marijuana compatible illnesses have had to go without the miracle plant.

New York’s Case Against Medical Marijuana

MMJ Recs - Marijuana

Governor Cuomo and his department don’t want the New York Medical Marijuana Program to be abused, so they’re making it very difficult to get a MMJ card.

The legislation of medical marijuana in New York came as a surprise to some as Governor Cuomo does not support the decriminalization of the plant. It is thought that the tough MMJ laws could be as a direct result of this. Although Cuomo does recognize the usefulness of medical marijuana as a form of treatment for certain illnesses, he is vehemently opposed to decriminalization, so it’s natural that he would want to keep MMJ laws as tough as possible to safeguard them from abuse.

Interestingly – and in spite of Cuomo’s beliefs – New York state lawmakers recently submitted two bills which could potentially pave the way for a state wide legalization of marijuana for recreational use. The bills – namely the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act – would create a system whereby marijuana would be taxed and regulated in the same way that alcohol is, creating a new market and providing millions of dollars in Revenue for the state.

Under this law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana would be legal for people aged 18 and over, and people aged 21 and over could legally buy cannabis from state licensed dispensaries, regardless of whether they had an MMJ card or not.

Until total legalization is introduced, it’s unlikely that getting a medical marijuana card will become much easier. Cuomo and his department don’t want the New York Medical Marijuana Program to be abused and thus, make getting the card particularly difficult. While these conservative views are restricting access to the plant for those in need, they see this as a necessary evil to stop people who they think shouldn’t be consuming it.

New York’s MMJ Laws

MMJ Recs - Brooklyn Bridge

One thing that majorly irked medical marijuana card holders in New York: the state banned edibles.

New York’s stringent MMJ laws are none the more evident than in the fact that smoking medical marijuana is strictly forbidden within the state. While smoking is not the consumption method of choice for most MMJ card holders – due to the obvious detrimental health effects – for the few users who prefer to smoke, this is problematic.

Edibles are similarly banned in New York, which irked medical marijuana card holders further. When this news was announced, some cannabis card holders were at a loss as to why these strict rules regarding consumption methods were enforced. It’s likely that the New York MMJ Program wanted to distance itself from recreational cannabis use as much as possible, thus outlawing methods of consumption that are more typically associated recreational users.

Type of Conditions

In the same vein, the list of qualifying conditions that deem you suitable for a medical marijuana card is considerably shorter in New York than it is in California. By and large, to obtain an MMJ card in New York you must be suffering from a life-threatening illness such as HIV or cancer, and your ailment must present you with associative and complicating conditions like seizures or chronic pain.

Thankfully, these laws have become slightly more lax in recent times, as PTSD and chronic pain have been added to the list of qualifying conditions.

Access to a Licensed MMJ Physician

Due to the uncertainty of New York’s MMJ Laws, unless you live close to New York City, it can be hard to find you a doctor who will happily recommend you for a medical marijuana card. Prospective MMJ card applicants across the state have consistently been disappointed, as their own trusted physicians refuse to recommend them for the program should, they step out of line and potentially lose their practice.

The best way to overcome this problem is to apply for your medical marijuana card online. This way you can complete your consultation with a state licensed physician from the comfort of your own home, and have it posted out to you within a few short days.

Essentially, it’s harder to get an MMJ card in New York than in California because the New York Medical Marijuana Program is still in its infancy. California legalized medical marijuana all the way back in 1996 – nearly 20 years before New York – so it’s no wonder that Cali is more weed-friendly than the Empire State.

Thankfully, New York is catching up fast, and it looks likely that we’ll see the full legalization of marijuana within the next five years. Until then, if you need access to MMJ in New York, it’s prudent that you apply for you medical marijuana card online today!

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.

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.