Every state in the USA has specific medical marijuana laws governing the sale and consumption of this compound. In New York, medical marijuana was legalized through an assembly bill in 2014. However, finding medical cannabis and buying it from a licensed dispensary was a challenging process for the patients.
Since 2017, things have become more relaxed, but you still need to understand the legal implications and other requirements of obtaining a New York medical marijuana card. Here, they are:
The Legality of Weed in New York
Although the state legalized medical cannabis, it has no intention to allow the use of weed for recreational purposes in the state. When Governor Andrew Cuomo passed and signed the legalization laws, it helped to remove state-level criminal penalties from the possession and use of cannabis if the patient has a legal MMJ card from an authorized physician.
Smoking weed in public is illegal and a misdemeanor under the New York laws. It leads to one year of jail time for the offender.
What Does New York Medical Marijuana Laws Encompass?
Since there’s a lot of confusion over the legality of marijuana in New York, you have to understand the Compassionate Care Act passed in 2014 for the legalization of marijuana strictly for medical purposes.
Under this program, patients can register and get a legal MMJ card to buy medical cannabis. However, even if you have an MMJ card or medical cannabis license, you cannot grow weed in your home or smoke cannabis flower in public places.
Requirements for MMJ Card in NY
Under the medical marijuana laws of New York, you can apply for an MMJ card only if you have any of the qualifying conditions. Previously, they included HIV positive, cancer, epilepsy, ALS, Parkinson’s, spasticity, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and some neuropathies.
But, from March 22, 2017, chronic pain was added to this list, making it easier for many patients to apply for medical marijuana. You need a confirmation from a licensed doctor to get the cannabis products from a licensed dispensary. Also, people above the age of 21 can qualify for a New York medical marijuana card.
If you are under 21, you need a legal guardian or parent to apply for the license using their name. In some cases, people can also get a prescription to use medical cannabis as a substitute for opioids in New York State.
How Long Does It Take to Apply for NY MMJ Card?
Once you have your medical records and a patient ID from a licensed physician, you can apply for the MMJ card and get approved within 10-15 days. The process is accessible through online applications where you can book a physician appointment and get consultation according to your convenience.
Where to Find Medical Marijuana in New York?
Even after applying for MMJ card online and getting approval from a licensed MD, you need to find the right dispensary selling legal marijuana as well. In New York, there are nearly 20 legal dispensaries, including Columbia Care, MedMen, and Pharmacannis, offering medical cannabis to approved patients.
Here, you can purchase products like tinctures, transdermal patches, oils, and capsules based on your prescription.
So, if you understand the NY medical cannabis laws and follow the right procedure, MMJ card or cannabis isn’t hard to get in the state.