Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in New York. After much delay, the state passed cannabis reform with the signing of the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act on March 31, 2021. Sales projected to begin some time in 2022. In 2014, New York became the 23rd state to join the ranks of states that approve medical marijuana with the Compassionate Care Act.
Despite being somewhat more restrictive than other medical marijuana programs, the New York’s program has been expanded since launch, with more proposed legislation on the way. Previously, cannabis was decriminalized in the state in in 2019 under Senate Bill S6579A, though it is still currently illegal.
Adults 21 and over are allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis, or up to 24 grams of concentrate. Under the Compassionate Care Act, registered patients are legally allowed to possess a 30-day supply at any given time. The quantity of a patient’s 30-day supply is based on the recommendations received from their licensed physician. Recreational cannabis is not legal, but has been decriminalized and is still punishable by fee..
The purchasing limit matches possession; those of legal age may purchase up to 3 ounces of flower or 24 grams of concentrate.
Recreational dispensaries in New York permit the sale of:
- Topicals and
- other cannabis preparations not yet defined.
For medical marijuana, dispensaries cannot provide a patient with more than a 30-day supply.
However, New York’s medical marijuana program does not allow for edibles or smoked flower. The following products are legally allowed to be sold in medical marijuana dispensaries:
- Metered liquid or oil preparations (tinctures, sublingually administered products, vape pens)
- Solid and semisolid preparations (capsules, tablets, lozenges)
- Non-smokable forms of ground cannabis plant matter for oral administration
- Topicals such as transdermal patches, lotions and ointments
When purchasing cannabis, the patient's recommendation must include:
- The authorized brand and form of marijuana
- Consumption method
- and any other limitations required.
Dosage amounts are not required for medical patients, though a patient cannot legally obtain more than a 30-day supply.Where to Buy
State regulations specify that patients must have one of the following conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed
- Chronic pain
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Huntington's disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Opioid Use Disorder (only if enrolled in a certified treatment program)
- Parkinson's disease
- Positive status for HIV or AIDS
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Additionally, a patient needs to have one of the following associated or complicating conditions:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms.
The state encourages potential applicants to check back if their condition is not included. New York has added qualifying conditions throughout the years, with the most recent addition, opioid use disorder, occurring on July 12, 2018. Get Your Card
New York State medical marijuana patients are permitted to designate up to two caregivers at any time. Caregivers can provide aid to up to five patients at a time and must be New York residents with a valid, state-issued driver's license or non-driver ID. Caregiver applications must be submitted by someone 21 years or older.
Consumption is permitted in private residencies, as well as locations with “on-site” consumption licenses. In addition, cannabis consumption is permissible wherever smoking tobacco products is allowed. However, it is also prohibited wherever smoking and vaping are prohibited, as well as in or upon the grounds of a school, or in or on a school bus. Consumption is also not allowed on any school grounds in higher education, including dormitories. While lounges are not yet open, the new legislation plans for them, and will establish criteria for licensing soon.
Medical patients cannot consume through vaporization in public places. Similar to Rec laws, no consumption can occur on any grounds that prohibit smoking. The state cites the following examples:
- Job sites
- Bars Food service establishments
- Enclosed indoor public areas
- Public mass transit vehicles
- Boarding areas
- Youth centers
- Detention centers
- Child care services
- Group homes
- Residential treatment facilities
- Colleges and universities
- General hospitals
- Commercial establishments
- Indoor arenas
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence laws extends to marijuana. Legalization does not make it legal to operate a vehicle under the influence. This applies to both recreational and medical marijuana. Steep punishments similar to those of alcohol DUIs may occur if found in violation of the law.
New York only recognizes in-state cardholders and does not offer reciprocity to out-of-state cardholders at this time.
New York does not allow for either medical or recreational marijuana products to be brought outside of the state.
Residents of New York 21 and older may cultivate up to 3 adult/flowering cannabis plants, and keep 3 seedlings at a time. No more than 6 plants (and 6 seedlings) total are allowed in a given household, regardless of the number of occupants. Medical patients are not allowed additional cultivation under the law. Be aware, final regulations for recreational home growing are not yet finalized, and thus, residents cannot begin planting just yet.
New York allows medical marijuana delivery. Recreational delivery will also be allowed, however licenses have not yet been issued.