Patient Drives In New York: How Do They Work?

Medical marijuana (MMJ) was fully legalized in New York in March 2021, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). This means that nowadays, it is easier than ever to avail of the MMJ products that you need with a valid NY MMJ card. Having a valid New York MMJ Card is the only legal and safe way to purchase MMJ products in the state. In the state of New York, an MMJ card also allows you to grow a limited amount of medical cannabis yourself. NY residents with a NY MMJ card can cultivate up to six plants in their own home.

MMJ is proven to help with numerous medical conditions. It offers pain relief and peace of mind for those with a qualifying condition. In New York, the following conditions qualify for a MMJ card (among others):

  • 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)
  • Huntington’s disease
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain

There may be other qualifying conditions for a NY MMJ card. These can be discussed during your consultation with a licensed MMJRecs NY state physician.

cannabis
Image by msqrd2 on Pixabay: Looking for more information on patient drives in New York? Read on!

The application process for a New York MMJ card typically involves the following steps:

  • First, register with MMJRecs and create a patient login, providing some basic information and answering a short and simple questionnaire. You will also need to upload a copy of your NY driving license.
  • You will then complete a 10-minute consultation online with a licensed MMJRecs state physician. During this consultation, the physician will discuss your medical condition and medical history and answer any questions you may have about MMJ and its effects.
  • Your doctor will certify your application if they are assured that MMJ will help your medical condition.
  • Once you have been approved by the physician, you will need to register with the NY Department of Health.
  • You will then receive a temporary MMJ card to use for the next 30 days. This can be downloaded and printed so you can begin to purchase MMJ products at the state’s dispensaries along with your state ID.
  • Your permanent NY MMJ card will arrive by mail in the following 3–10 days.

A New York patient drive can speed up the MMJ card application process. Read on to find out more.

What is a NY patient drive?

MMJ patient drives can help more people to access the medical marijuana they need. They are important for making MMJ more available to those who would otherwise struggle to make an appointment with a licensed state physician. So, what is a New York patient drive? Patient drives are like pop-up day events, during which many people can avail of quick and easy appointments for MMJ cards if they have a qualifying condition. MMJ evaluation patient drives can be hugely beneficial for those seeking MMJ cards in New York.

If you are a dispensary manager, New York patient drive events mean that patients can get their certification on the same day as their evaluation with a licensed state physician, and therefore can increase engagement with your dispensary. Any qualifying patient who attends a New York patient drive will not have to wait in crowded waiting rooms for an appointment, making the application and certification process quick and easy.

doctor with clipboard
Image by valelopardo on Pixabay: Patient drives in New York can make it easier for people to get a NY MMJ card.

Want to organize a MMJ patient drive in NY?

MMJRecs can help you organize a successful and well-run MMJ patient drive in the state of New York. We can take on an unlimited amount of patients, so any qualifying patient who attends an evaluation drive can receive their NY MMJ certification on the same day as their appointment.

MMJRecs can ensure that your patient drive will not interfere with the day-to-day running of your business, as our team will manage the patient flow. Plus, newly certified patients will be able to immediately purchase from your dispensary.

All of the MMJRecs patient drive consultations will be carried out online. This process is quick and efficient. The MMJRecs team can help with your New York patient drive in the following ways:

  • Keeping HIPAA-compliant records
  • Delivering same-day results so your customers can get certified ASAP
  • Managing patient flow so you can focus on your customers
  • Providing the technology to sign up every qualifying patient who attends
  • Custom integrations with your business 
  • Providing private URLs so that your dispensary is promoted on our website
  • Ensuring the most affordable MMJ certification prices in the US

Read more about the process of organizing a New York patient drive right here!

Featured image by Pixabay on Pexels

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
person using laptop for online mmj application
Image by freestocks.org on Pexels: Is it hard to get a med card in NY?

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
people on new york street at night
Image by jimmy teoh on Pexels: How do I become a legal medical marijuana patient in New York?

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.

Featured image by Quintin Gellar on Pexels

How Many Plants Can You Grow With A Medical Card In New York?

Medical marijuana became legal in New York in 2014. In the last few years, the state’s MMJ program has expanded considerably. Home cultivation of MMJ is legal in NY and is a popular method of getting high-quality, organic marijuana. So how many MMJ plants can you grow with a medical card in New York? Read on for all you need to know.

Can I Grow Cannabis Legally In NY?

Yes, you can legally grow cannabis plants for medical use in New York. All New York MMJ cardholders are allowed to grow a limited amount of medical marijuana in their homes for their own consumption.

Can You Grow CBD Plants In NY?

Some people want to grow hemp plants for the CBD they contain, since CBD has some of the same medical benefits as MMJ. You can grow a limited number of hemp plants in New York if you have an MMJ card.

How Many Plants Can You Grow With A Medical Card In New York?

New York residents who have a NY MMJ card can cultivate up to six medical marijuana plants at home at any one time.

cannabis plant
Image by futurefilmworks on Pixabay: How many plants can you grow with a medical card in New York?

How Much Is A Grower’s License In NY?

MMJ cardholders can grow up to six plants at home without having to get any sort of grower’s license. Businesses that wish to cultivate larger amounts of MMJ to sell must apply for a grower’s license and pay a $10,000 non-refundable application fee and a $200,000 biennially renewing registration fee.

Growing MMJ in New York

Here are our top five tips for growing medical marijuana in New York.

1. Don’t Grow More Than The Legal Limit

Always stay within the New York legal MMJ home cultivation limit of up to six plants.

2. Grow Indoors

Marijuana plants can only grow outdoors if temperatures don’t drop below 59°F. Daytime temperatures in New York drop below 59°F regularly in winter, spring, and fall, so you will get the best results if you grow your MMJ plants indoors in NYC.

3. Protect Your Plants From July Heat

July in New York can be hot, with temperatures rising to the high 80s. MMJ plants do not do well at these temperatures, so on especially hot days, make sure your plants are kept in the shade.

4. Try Auto-flowering Strains

Auto-flowering MMJ strains are more robust and smaller in size than regular MMJ strains. They grow and flower much quicker and can produce multiple harvests each year. Auto-flowering strains are ideal for growing in urban settings such as NYC apartments.

5. Get A New York Medical Marijuana Card

As of December 2021, it is still illegal to cultivate marijuana plants at home in New York if you do not have an MMJ card. Home cultivation for recreational marijuana users is on the cards, but it may take up to a year to come into effect. So for the time being, you must have a NY MMJ card to cultivate MMJ at home.

How Do You Get A New York MMJ Card?

To get a New York MMJ card you need to have a consultation with a state-licensed medical professional. This can be done remotely at the MMJRecs online clinic.

Once your suitability for medical marijuana treatment has been certified by a medical professional, you can submit your application through the my.NY web portal.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A New York Medical Marijuana Card?

The following medical conditions will qualify a person for medical marijuana treatment in New York:

  • 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 Can You Buy At New York Dispensaries?

The following MMJ products are available in MMJ dispensaries in New York:

  • MMJ flower
  • MMJ edibles
  • Lozenges, capsules, and tablets
  • Tinctures and sprays
  • Topicals and lotions
  • CBD wellness products
  • Powders
  • Vape cartridges
  • MMJ equipment
person completing online application
Image by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels: How do you get a New York MMJ card? Jump online and apply!

What Are The MMJ Possession Limits In New York?

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

Where Is It Legal To Consume MMJ In New York?

In New York, you can smoke or vape MMJ anywhere that smoking tobacco is allowed. However, smoking is prohibited in most public areas in New York, including:

  • Outdoor dining areas at restaurants
  • Parks
  • Swimming pools
  • Offices
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Public transport
  • Ferries
  • Schools
  • Beaches
  • Motor vehicles

This really just leaves designated smoking areas and private homes in which to consume MMJ in NY.

Featured image by Kindel Media on Pexels

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

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
Image by 7raysmarketing on Pixabay; How long does it take to get a medical marijuana card in New York?

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
Image by jimmy teoh on Pexels: How long does MMJ approval take in NY?

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.

Featured image by Colton Duke on Unsplash

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 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?

Which Ailments Are Covered Under New York Medical Marijuana Laws?

If you’ve read anything about medical marijuana, it’s likely that you’re aware of the very forgiving laws in California and are open to trying different strains and methods to treat your illness or condition. From anxiety, depression, eating disorders and multiple sclerosis, to cancer and Parkinson’s disease, medical marijuana can help alleviate many symptoms of different illnesses or conditions.

However, not all states have the same laws and New York has a particularly strict medical marijuana program that only covers certain illnesses and ailments.

Cancer

MMJ Recs - Hospital Room with Beds

Although some think that using medical marijuana for cancer symptoms shouldn’t be allowed, many have found that MMJ has helped alleviate the pain associated with cancer.

Cancer can be defined as a condition that is typified by abnormal cell growth. It can occur at any site on the body and means that tumors form due to cells reproducing too quickly. As a result of these tumors, other symptoms can occur including pain, bleeding, coughing, visible lumps and blood in urine or stool, depending on the site of the cancer. It can be easily treated through surgery or chemotherapy or can be a terminal illness – depending on the cancer’s location and the time of diagnosis.

HIV/AIDS

HIV is a virus that attacks the human immune system, destroying white blood cells and thus the body’s ability to fight illness. AIDS is the associated syndrome that occurs when HIV progresses into obvious illness. Symptoms of AIDS include pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma  (a very rare form of skin cancer), sweating and diarrhea. HIV is transmitted through blood and sexual fluids and is most commonly passed on through sexual intercourse, sharing of contaminated needles for intravenous drug use and from mother to baby in utero.

ALS

MMJ Recs - Hospice Worker with Patient in Wheelchair

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a severely debilitating disease that causes people to lose all muscle function.

ALS is also known as motor neurone disease, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and it affects neurones that control muscles in the body. It means that those affected by this condition slowly lose control of all muscle function and become unable to walk, speak, feed themselves or control bodily functions. It is a slow-killing disease and most sufferers die from losing the ability to breathe while sleeping.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that controls movement in the body. It is characterized by an unstable posture, muscle shaking and rigid limbs. It is slow-progressing and really impacts the lives of those affected, as it becomes impossible to take care of oneself without assistance due to incessant muscle shaking and posture limitations.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease that affects the coverings of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It can present a variety of differing symptoms depending on the type of MS present, but symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, general pain, diarrhea and muscle spasms. While it is not typically defined as a terminal illness, it does have the potential to limit the life expectancy of those who are diagnosed with it.

Damage to the Nervous Tissue of the Spinal Cord with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity

Intractable spasticity is a muscle control disorder that is usually cause by trauma to the brain or spinal cord. It is most common in those who have suffered an accident such as a car collision, fall or abuse. It is defined by spasms, deformities and generalized muscle and bone pain.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterised by seizures. The severity and frequency of the seizures varies from person to person and is also dependent on the type of epilepsy diagnosed. It can be present from birth or can be brought on by brain injuries, brain tumors or strokes. Epilepsy diagnosed in childhood can sometimes disappear with the onset of puberty.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of autoimmune illnesses that involve the ulceration or inflammation of the bowel and lower intenstine. The most common types of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions are often very painful and can limit the sufferer’s ability to live an independent life due to the need to be close to a toilet.

Neuropathy

Neuropathy is nerve damage that an affect any part of the body. Its cause can be obvious or totally unknown and symptoms include tingling, numbness, tremors and extreme pain.

Chronic Pain as Defined by 10 NYCRR §1004.2(a)(8)(xi)

The NYC MMJ bill defines chronic pain as “any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability; where the patient has contraindications, has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options; and where there is documented medical evidence of such pain having lasted three months or more beyond onset, or the practitioner reasonably anticipates such pain to last three months or more beyond onset.”

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is a genetically inherited illness that results in the destruction of brain cells. Symptoms usually begin in late thirties or early forties and include random muscle jerks, subtle changes in personality and random eye movements. Sufferers then degenerate further and sleep and muscle control are affected. Death most commonly occurs within twenty years of diagnosis from pneumonia, heart disease or suicide.

MMJ Recs - Close Up Cannabis Plant

Medical marijuana is helpful from a wide range of symptoms, from something serious, like cancer, to something more common, like nausea.

As well as one of the conditions above, you need to be suffering from one of the following associated symptoms or conditions as a result of your illness:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscles spasms 

Obviously, it is far more complex a process to get an MMJ card in New York than in other states. The best thing to do is to speak to your primary care physician if you suffer from one of the above conditions and to get their advice on if this is a good route of treatment for you to pursue.

3 MMJ Policies New York Needs to Change to Take on California

There has always been a rivalry between the east coast and the west; whether it’s sport, politics or hip hop, New Yorkers are always determined to out battle Californians. In the arena of medical marijuana however, as it currently stands, there is one clear winner.

MMJ was legalized in California way back in the Compassionate Use Act of 1996; in this way, the Golden State was way ahead of the other 49 on the medical marijuana front. Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada followed Cali’s lead in 1998, and over the last twenty odd years, MMJ has been steadily legalized in 29 different states in the U.S.

One of the most recent states to take up the cause was, surprisingly, New York. The government in Albany only passed the required act in July 2014, following a lengthy debate in the state senate. This made them the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize MMJ (a staggering statistic when you consider New York’s traditional liberal leanings).

Even more startling was the restrictiveness of the bill when it was finally unveiled to the NY public; despite passing with a landslide, it was in fact one of the most conservative in the whole country.

Cuomo has long since taken a staunch anti-marijuana position, and the Republicans in the Senate got a little weak in the knees at the prospect of MMJ legalization escalating rapidly to recreational legalization. The result was a bill that failed to cater to the basic needs of most patients across the state.

While the signs are good that this restrictiveness is set to change due to continued pressure and advocacy from support groups, it doesn’t change the fact that it puts New York light years behind California when it comes to MMJ law.

With that in mind, here are three major policies from Cuomo’s bill that need to change if New York wants to draw even or surpass the Golden State.

MMJRecs - Weed in Hand

Since smoking is the most effective way to consume MMJ, New York needs to legalize smoking medical marijuana to be as forward-thinking as California.

1. Introduce Smoking

As patients in California know, smoking marijuana is the most effective form of consuming the drug, and the most potent method of treatment for  a myriad of conditions that MMJ can ease. Bizarrely, this was the one form of consumption that was left out of Cuomo’s bill – presumably because it is the form most associated with recreational use.

In a effort to distance himself from the thorny issue of recreational legalization, Cuomo insisted on a smoking ban. New York patients can instead consume the drug in the form of extracts, tinctures, oils and edibles.

Meanwhile, over on the west coast, smoking is far and away the most common form of consumption for patients. By limiting the use of MMJ, New York established itself as one of the most restrictive medical marijuana states in the country. This needs to change and change fast if they’re hoping to consider themselves a forward-thinking, progressive home for MMJ.

2. Allow More Registered Organizations

Advocates for MMJ recently scored a big win when they got the qualifying treatment ‘chronic pain’ added to the New York bill. This crucial clause, which opens up the benefits of MMJ to a whole range of patients, was absent from the initial proposal.

The trouble is, the 2014 bill only contains provision for five Registered Organizations (ROs), which the state licenses to produce and distribute medical marijuana. Each RO can only operate a maximum of four dispensaries each, leaving a total of twenty dispensaries serving the entire state of New York.

With more patients signing up thanks to the ‘chronic pain’ addition, this startlingly limited number of dispensaries simply won’t be enough to cover all patients in the state. In stark contrast, California has no limit on the amount of dispensaries; New York should certainly look to the west coast for inspiration on this one.

MMJRecs - Weed in Hand

If New York really wants to help MMJ patients feel better, then the state needs to add more medical marijuana facilities.

3. Take the Power Away From the Governor

Under the Compassionate Care Act of 2014, Governor Cuomo and by extension the senate, have the power to quash medical marijuana if they feel it’s being abused. With a Republican-leaning politician like Cuomo, this could happen at anytime, leaving MMJ patients in New York with a big old sword of Damocles hanging over them.

If it was voted in fairly, then the law belongs to the people; the power to take it away shouldn’t be in the hands of one man. Instead of this regressive clause, both Republicans and Democrats should look to compromise and keep in mind the best interests of the people.

Since last November, when California followed Colorado’s lead and legalized recreational marijuana, the debate has been all about the legality of marijuana in general; having New York all paranoid about medical marijuana, which has been embraced by 29 states and proven to be effective for sufferers of a whole range of conditions, seems extremely regressive and archaic.

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.

What California MMJ Patients Think of New York’s New Medical Cannabis Legislation

Twenty nine states across the U.S. have now legalized medical marijuana, although the strictures of each respective legislation differ wildly. Although MMJ has been legal in at least one state in America since 1996, it still remains a contentious topic among local governments – a contention which becomes apparent with even a cursory glance at the various bills and acts which inform the legality of the medicine across the country. In fact, you don’t even have to look at all the bills; you can look at just two, a comparison which comprises the opposite coasts of the country.

California have always been way ahead of the curve when it comes to medical marijuana. They were the first state to introduce MMJ, way back in 1996, and their loose, liberal approach has informed the way many states approach the controversial subject. It took a further two years for any other state to get MMJ legislature through their respective senates.

Though it wasn’t the first state to introduce recreational marijuana (that was Colorado and Washington simultaneously in 2012), Cali has long been seen as a marijuana advocate stronghold, and followed through with their recreational legalization in November 2016, concurrent with the U.S. presidential election.

Californians Have a Leg Up When It Comes to MMJ

MMJ Recs - New York City

One benefit Californians have over New Yorkers when it comes to medical cannabis: patients aren’t required to get a state ID card or an MMJ card.

MMJ patients in California have it pretty good. Their 1996 bill, Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, still holds up in 2017, despite some vague wording at the time of its issue. There are a whole host of qualifying conditions, not just serious ones, and the list includes the all-important qualifier ‘chronic pain’, which covers many different forms of debilitation, without needing the doctors to diagnose a specific illness before prescribing.

In fact, the law goes one step further, and qualifies any debilitating illness where the use of MMJ has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician”. This gives doctors a lot of free rein to prescribe to their patients, without worrying if their treatment plan is in danger of breaking state law.

There are also no possession limits specified by Prop. 215, and home cultivation of the medicine is permitted. However, patients could find themselves in hot water if they grew amounts of marijuana that were obviously excessive to their needs; to clear up this situation, the government added an amendment to the original bill in 2016, which declared that a patient may cultivate up to 100 square feet of marijuana, while primary caregivers with five or fewer patients can cultivate up to 500 square feet.

Most importantly, patients in California are not required to get a state ID card or a MMJ card. They’re both optional, but residents of the state can avail of medical marijuana freely without either of them.

Medical Cannabis Laws in New York

All that freedom stands in stark contrast to New York’s take on the matter of MMJ. Californian patients would think that NY’s legislation was extremely conservative; and they’d be right. The usually-liberal leaning New York shocked MMJ advocates up and down the country in 2014, when it introduced one of the most restrictive medical marijuana bills in the U.S. Initially, it was seen as an extremely conservative step, but a necessary one, given that New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been vocally anti-marijuana (in any form) in the past. Looking at the legislature, it reads almost opposite to California’s bill of eighteen years previous, although of course, they are broadly the same piece of law.

MMJ Recs - Beverly Hills

New York’s medical marijuana legislation is pretty much the exact opposite of California’s 1996 MMJ bill.

Initially, New York had a small list of severe diseases under its qualifying conditions. These included cancer, AIDS, ALS, MS and Parkinson’s, although crucially did not include the all important ‘chronic pain’ clause that California’s law has. Since last year, after pressure from MMJ advocates, this has since been rectified, and ‘chronic pain’ is now a fully fledged, MMJ-legal condition in New York.

A second part of the bill that shocked Californians, and has yet to be rectified, is the prohibition on smoking the medicine. Smoking has long been known as the most potent and effect method to consume marijuana; when it comes to medical cases, it’s important that patients give the medicine the best chance it can to work. Unfortunately, under Governor Cuomo, smoking MMJ was considered too much of a risk, and not included in the bill.

Other restricting factors include absolutely no cultivation permitted, and a limit on how many dispensaries can operate in the state at a time (only twenty). This again is in stark contrast to the West Coast, where patients could be sure of picking up their medicine locally and easily.

Looking to New York, patients in California would be shocked to learn that there is only one dispensary for every 27,000 square kilometers of the state. This makes access hard, and also crucially makes it more troublesome for critically ill patients to get the treatment they need.

Although things are changing in New York, they’re still a long way off the liberal leanings of California’s law. Observing the happenings on the East Coast, MMJ patients in Cali are no doubt thanking their lucky stars that they live where they do; conversely, NY patients have got a fight on their hands to bring their legislature up to California’s gold standard.

Is New York Going to Overtake California as the Leading MMJ State?

As legal medical marijuana becomes more and more widespread in the United States, the particular ways each state is handling the introduction of the medicine are slowly becoming apparent. There are currently 29 legal MMJ states in the country, across the country from California to New York, and all of them approach the subject a little differently to the last.

While advocates continue to fight the good fight to get the medicine legalized in all 50 states, it’s going to be a long road; so it can be instructive to take a look at how the respective programs of the legalized states have shaped up so far.

California: A Trailblazer for Medical Cannabis

The trailblazer state for MMJ is undoubtedly California, who legalized the drug over twenty years ago in 1996. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Care Act, passed by a narrow 55%, and allowed people suffering from cancer, AIDS, arthritis and other chronic ailments the avail of medical marijuana.

Although the proposition was criticized at the time for its vague wording, it was hailed as a major breakthrough by the medical profession, who could now legally recommend MMJ to their patients. From then, California has gone from strength to strength, and has become the guiding beacon for the legalization of both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.

California has long been seen as a leading liberal state, as has its counterpart on the opposite coast, New York. America’s largest city has a long history of liberal leanings, and most expected them to carry through with the advent of MMJ. However, that was surprisingly not the case.

New York vs. California MMJ Laws

Quite the opposite occurred actually; when New York finally legalized medical marijuana in 2014, a full eighteen years after California, it was in the form of a shockingly restrictive and conservative bill. One of the sticking points of the new legislation came from Governor Andrew Cuomo, a long-standing anti-marijuana advocate, who insisted that the medicine should not be legalized in smokable form.

MMJRecs - Golden Gate

California allows medical marijuana to be taken in any form, which is vastly different to the MMJ laws in New York.

This greatly limits the potency of MMJ, which is most effective and fast-acting when smoked. In addition, only a small number of diseases, many of them severe, would qualify a patient for MMJ treatment in New York; the 2014 bill didn’t include the blanker term ‘chronic pain’, which critically limits both who doctors can prescribe to, and on what grounds.

In fact, New York doctors themselves had to think very carefully before prescribing the drug. If they were found to be working outside the tight parameters of Cuomo’s bill, they could find themselves breaking federal law.

As it stood upon introduction, New York’s MMJ laws stood in stark contrast to California’s liberal leanings. California allows medical marijuana to be taken in any form, and also includes a wide range of qualifying conditions, which sharply outguns New York’s restrictive measures.

Medical Marijuana Laws: Times They are a Changin’

Things have been changing recently though, and advocates in New York have been applying pressure in order to loosen the conservative bill. These changes, however, bring it nowhere near California’s MMJ legacy; and the problem starts with supply and demand.

It’s hard to walk down any given street in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or indeed any major Californian city, without happening across an MMJ dispensary. Over twenty years of legal medical marijuana have given California an unprecedented head start in terms of cultivation, and the industry continues to go from strength to strength.

Over on the East coast however, things are a little different. Currently, New York’s 2014 bill only allows for five cultivation companies to legally operate in the state, with a maximum of twenty dispensaries (or one every 2,700km). This was initially crippling to the growth of MMJ; though the Department of Health has since recognized its limitations, and doubled the amount of cultivation companies to ten, in a bill passed late last year.

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One good piece of news is that as of March this year, chronic pain was added as a qualifying ailment for MMJ in New York.

There are also continuing and persistent calls for changing the qualifying conditions in New York, some of which have not gone unheeded. As of March this year, chronic pain was added as a qualifying ailment, after it was announced in December 2016. This opens up a whole new world for medical marijuana in New York, making it accessible for many more people for whom it could prove a major benefit. Despite the early aggressiveness of the 2014 bill, signs are good that the Department of Health are loosening their reins and are looking to put New York on the MMJ map.

However, these new measures simply don’t measure up to California’s lax legislation. In fact, the Sunshine State has gone one step further and legalized recreational marijuana, another bold step in the slowly but surely progressing acceptance of the drug. Although it’s making bold strides, and is certainly heading in there right direction, New York still has a long way to go to make up the ground gained by California.

Until NY, the supposed liberal bastion of the Eastern seaboard, severely loosens its laws, Cali will remain the king of MMJ states. But who knows what the lay of the land will look like five years from now. Until then, patients will on both sides of the country will have to continue fighting the good fight, and advocating the plethora of benefits MMJ provides.

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

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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

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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.

 

Why New York Medical Marijuana Laws Are Stricter Than in California

Why would anyone choose to leave sunny California? The weather is amazing, the people are chill and most importantly, the medical marijuana laws are pretty relaxed.

The Golden State was the first to bring MMJ laws onto its books. While many states have followed suit, not many have as relaxed laws as California does. There is also a great rivalry between the east and west coasts, so how do Californian medical marijuana laws measure up to those in New York state?

MMJ Laws in New York and California

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The main difference between New York medical marijuana laws and California medical cannabis laws are the forms that are legal to consume.

The short answer is that New York has far stricter rules on medical marijuana than California. While California has had MMJ laws on the books since 1996, New York only brought in limited medical marijuana laws on 2014.

The main difference between MMJ in the states is the forms that are legal. In California, you can consume smoking cannabis, edibles, tinctures and pretty much any kind of medical marijuana. However, in New York, there are strict laws in place relating to what can be consumed. Patients may only consume MMJ via oils or sprays to be vaporized or consumed orally. Edibles and cannabis cigarettes are still strictly illegal.

You are also not permitted to grow medical marijuana for your own use, whereas this is permitted in California. This can present issues for patients who experience the best results from cannabis cigarettes or edibles, as opposed to tinctures, oils or vapes.

Medical marijuana benefits different people in different ways, and the forms that you consume them in can often have differing effects. It’s unfortunate that New York state cannot cater to all of its medical marijuana patients, some of which live with chronic and unmanageable pain, but a broader law may come into effect with continued campaigning.

Obtaining Medical Marijuana in New York and California

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In California, the process of obtaining an MMJ card is much easier than obtaining one in New York.

The ways in which you obtain a medical marijuana card in both states are also slightly different. In California, you can visit a medical marijuana professional for an in-person or online consultation. They will ask you the nature of your condition and prescribe medical cannabis to you based on your needs. You then receive your MMJ card and go to your dispensary to pick the form and strain of medical marijuana you need.

In New York, things are far stricter. Patients must suffer from a specified condition that appears on a list that has been ratified by the Commissioner. These conditions include Alzheimer’s Disease, chronic pain (which is very strictly defined) HIV/AIDS, cancer or epilepsy. This means that you need to fit very strict medical criteria before you can even consider seeking a medical marijuana card.

After you have deemed yourself suitable for medical marijuana treatment, you have to visit a registered medical marijuana practitioner. All medical marijuana practitioners must be registered with New York State and noted on a public register. When you visit an MMJ practitioner in New York, they will also decide the appropriate dosage and strain for you, as well as the form you consume it in.

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When you visit an MMJ practitioner in California, you get to decide your appropriate dosage and strain.

In California, that decision is left up to the patient. For example, you can go to a medical marijuana practitioner in New York State, who will decide you need a certain strain, in a certain amount to be administered and consumed in a certain form. You then bring the “prescription” to a dispensary, who can only give you the medical cannabis that the registered practitioner has decided is most appropriate for you.

As medical marijuana practitioners must register with the state, so too must patients. When you receive your MMJ certificate from your practitioner, you must register as a medical marijuana patient online. You will then be sent a card, which will allow you to receive your treatment. You cannot receive any treatment without your identification card.

Dispensaries in New York are also required to be fully registered and can only carry pre-approved products that can be designated to patients. While there is a wide variety of ways to take medical marijuana in California, practitioners in New York are only allowed to certify patients to take certain types and brands, with varying rates of THC and CBD.

As you can see, the measures in New York are far stricter than those in California, and this mostly just comes down to stigma. In California, MMJ has been around for over twenty years, and most citizens are comfortable with the concept, as it has changed so many lives for the better. New York is still coming around to the idea, and is being incredibly strict so as not to be seen to be condoning recreational drug use.

Hopefully, with time, New York will be able to relax its incredibly strict MMJ laws and allow more people access to a lifeline that has changed people from being in so much pain that they cannot function, to being functional members of society.

 

California vs New York: Which State is Best for Medical Cannabis?

Now that the medical marijuana card revolution has spread to New York, it can be easy to compare and contrast its laws to those in other states. While it’s not fair to compare MMJ card states with marijuana gold standard states – we’re looking at you, Colorado – comparing MMJ-friendly states against each other gives us a better picture of which state is best to live in if you’re a cannabis card holder.

California was a trailblazer in the legalization of medical marijuana with the introduction of Proposition 215 all the way back in 1996. For this reason, MMJ laws in the Sunshine State are some of the best in the country, leaving other MMJ states in its shadow.

Unfortunately for New York MMJ card carriers, the liberal bastion of the eastern seaboard just hasn’t caught up to California’s super lax laws. In fairness to them, they only legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2014, so we can’t exactly hold them to California’s standard, which has been over 20 years in the making.

Qualifying Ailments for MMJ

The biggest area where Californian cannabis laws outshine New York’s is by their classification of qualifying ailments. In California, there is a broad lists of qualifying conditions that allow you to apply for a medical marijuana card. This includes anything from menstrual cramps and anxiety, to cancer and everything in between. Thanks to this, anyone in need of the ameliorative effects of cannabis can access it.

New York’s list of qualifying conditions is significantly smaller, and comes with specific stipulations. To get a medical marijuana card in New York, you must suffer from a life-threatening illness. According to the medical marijuana program, this is limited to cancerHIV, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, Huntington’s disease and chronic pain.

In addition to these limitations, your condition must present you with life-limiting symptoms in order to qualify for an MMJ card. A doctor can not, and will not, prescribe you medical cannabis outside of these conditions due to the intense pressure put on them by the New York Medical Marijuana Program.

Cannabis Cultivation Laws in New York and California

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One downside for MMJ card holders in New York: it’s strictly banned in the state to grow cannabis at home.

Home cultivation is strictly banned in New York, with the state’s needs for cultivation limited to production by ten companies. This presents problems for cannabis card holders who prefer to home grow due to mobility issues.

California, by contrast, allows MMJ card carriers to grow six mature plants or 12 immature plants at home once they have the required growers license. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, there doesn’t seem to be any plans on the horizon to ease home growing laws.

Consumption Laws for Medical Marijuana

Noticeably, you won’t see any medical marijuana card holders smoking MMJ in New York, as smoking the plant is strictly illegal. Governor Cuomo never gave a real explanation as to why this is, with many people speculating that he wanted to distance his MMJ program from methods of consumption that would typically be associated with recreational use. While this isn’t a major problem for most cannabis card carriers – a lot of them would steer clear from smoking due to the obvious health effects. This can be a nuisance for the small few who prefer to smoke their MMJ.

Similarly, the consumption of medical marijuana edibles is banned in New York. Unlike smoking, a significant amount of MMJ card holders would consume this way. Using edibles has a whole host of benefits – and is tasty, to boot – so some patients were very disappointed with this law. Being the bastion of MMJ goodness that it is, Californian medical marijuana law allows both smoking and the consumption of edibles once you’re suitably discreet about it.

Getting a Cannabis Card in California and New York

Acquiring a cannabis card in California is a much easier process than it is in New York. In Cali, all you need to do is complete a short, noninvasive online consultation with a licensed mental health professional and voilà, you got yourself a California medical marijuana card! In New York, it takes a little bit longer to do.

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Just like sitting in New York traffic can be a painfully long process, so can acquiring a New York MMJ card.

First, you must go to a doctor and tell them about your illness and your need for a medical marijuana card. 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 prescribe you MMJ, and you’ll be left feeling disappointed. If you have a qualifying ailment and they think you’re suitable for it, they’ll recommend you for medical marijuana certification.

Following this, you’ll have to register for your Registry ID Card. You do this by applying via the Department of Health’s Online Patient Registration System. Once your application is rigorously reviewed, you’ll be sent out your ID in the mail. You’ll need to bring this with you when you visit the MMJ dispensary in New York.

New York’s medical cannabis laws are only in their infancy, so it’s pretty understandable for them to be so far behind their western cousins on the MMJ front. Thankfully, further relaxations of New York’s MMJ laws are on the horizon, with the possibility of total legalization looking likely within the next five years – not bad for a state who only decriminalized MMJ three years ago!

Until then, New York can continue to look to California for inspiration on how to make their state more MMJ-friendly.