If you are a New Yorker and are in need of a medical marijuana card, then this comprehensive guide is for you.
Until recently, New York was notorious for having one of the United States’ strictest programs on medical marijuana – even though their laws weren’t much different than any other state with legalized pot, it was inconvenient, time-consuming, and expensive for residents to go through the proper channels of getting a qualified MMJ card.
| Interested in getting medical marijuana in New York? Here’s all you need to know about the process…
However, that changed pretty significantly last year (2017) when a California company called NuggMD took advantage of New York’s State Senate Bill 2405, which allows for the use of “electronic information and communication technologies by telehealth providers, to deliver healthcare services [including] the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and/or self-management, of a patient.”
Now, some residents of New York can get approved for medical marijuana in less than a half an hour by a qualified physician, without ever having to leave their home. Here’s how to get a medical marijuana card in New York.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New York: All You Need to Know
Step 1 – Get in touch with a NY healthcare provider
The first step to getting a medical marijuana card in the state of New York is to speak with a physician/health practitioner that is registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. You can either set up an appointment at an actual location, or you can speak with a physician online as we mentioned above.
It is recommended that you obtain your medical records first, as this is typically required and will help speed up and streamline the process.
If the qualified physician deems you a suitable candidate for medical marijuana use, he or she will issue you a certification for medical marijuana – however, even after receiving the certification from a physician, additional steps must be taken before you can purchase cannabis from a legal dispensary.
*(Please note, to get an MMJ card you MUST be a resident of the state of New York. You will need to provide proof of residency, for example, a New York I.D, passport or other photo I.D)
Step 2 – Register with the official NY Medical Marijuana Program
Once you’ve been diagnosed with a qualifying condition (see below for current list) and received the certification from a registered physician, you can then register with the Medical Marijuana program through the state’s online Patient Registration System. There are two ways to go about this:
- You can ask your doctor’s office to do this. (In fact, most MMJ doctors will include this in the price of the consultation)
- You can submit your application through the my.ny.gov website, though be advised that you will have to create an account if this is your first MMJ application.
Once you’ve submitted your information, it will typically take the standard 7-10 business days (if approved) for your medical marijuana card to arrive in the mail, at which point you can purchase legal marijuana from a qualified NY state dispensary.
What are the New York Medical Cannabis Card Costs?
Once you receive your MMJ certification from a qualified physician, the cost to apply for the medical marijuana card is $50. This is a non-refundable application fee. In addition to this fee, however, you likely will encounter costs/fees from the initial physician consultation, which can range anywhere from $99-$299.
Qualifying Conditions to Receive a Medical Marijuana Card in New York
According to the New York State Medical Marijuana Program, patients in New York who are diagnosed with one of the following severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions, are afforded legal protection under New York’s medical marijuana law, as per Assembly Bill 6357:
- ALS(Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neuropathy (or other forms of nervous tissue/spinal cord damage)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)
- Huntington’s Disease
Moreover, patients who suffer from a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition or any of the following conditions may be entitled to medical marijuana:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Severe or chronic pain
Lastly, medical marijuana may be recommended by a physician as a pain-relieving opioid substitute in order to help curb the ongoing opioid epidemic (this is a new amendment to the MMJ program as of July 2018).
Is Weed Legal in New York?
Marijuana is currently legal for medicinal use in New York, but not for recreational use. This means that you will have to obtain a valid New York MMJ card before you can legally purchase, possess, or use marijuana in the state.
*Also, it’s important to understand that even with a valid New York MMJ card, smoking actual marijuana flower (i.e. rolling it up in a joint or packing a bowl) is not permissible. The only legal forms of medical marijuana consumption in the state are:
(This fact is not immediately clear on the state’s website, so we actually called the official Medical Marijuana Program at 866-811-7957 to find out for sure. It was also explained to us that the cultivation (growing) of marijuana is not permissible, even with a valid card).
It is important to point out, however, that weed in New York has been decriminalized. This means that if you are caught with possession amounts of 25 g or less, you cannot get arrested for it – even if you DO NOT have an active MMJ card.
In most cases, you will simply get charged with a fine (if it is your first or second offense). Here is the current rundown on weed decriminalization in NY:
- If it is your first offense and you’re caught with 25 g of pot or less, you can get charged with a $100 max fine
- If it is your second offense and you’re caught with 25 g or less, you can get charged with a max fine of $200
- If it is your third offense, there is a chance of a 15-day incarceration (though the criminal penalty is not classified), in addition to a max fine of $250
If you are caught with more than 25 g of marijuana, however, criminal penalties (in addition to fines) may still be applied:
- Possession between 25 g and 2 oz may result in a misdemeanor and up to 3 months jail time, in addition to a $500 fine
- Possession between 2 and 8 oz is a misdemeanor and may result in a fine of $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail
- Possession between 8 oz and 1 lb is a felony, and may result in up to 5 years prison time and a fine of $4,000
- Possession between 1 lb and 10 lbs is a felony and may result in 7 years prison time and a fine of $5,000
- Possession of more than 10 lbs is a felony (with intent to distribute) and may result in 15 years prison time and a fine of $15,000
And lastly, if you are caught using marijuana in public view (i.e. smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis in public where other people can see you), you may still be charged with a misdemeanor (even if the possession is under 25 g), and get hit with possible jail time and a $250 fine.
Can you grow weed in New York with a Medical Marijuana Card?
As mentioned above, even with a valid Medical Marijuana Card growing or otherwise cultivating your own cannabis is illegal. If you are caught cultivating marijuana in any amount, the criminal penalty is a misdemeanor with a potential jail time of 1 year and maximum fine of $1,000.
However, bear in mind that possession charges can ‘overshadow’ cultivation charges if the amount being grown is over 25 g. For instance if you are growing multiple plants that contain a total of more than 1 lb of weed, you may be charged with a felony for possession and hit with a maximum 7 year jail sentence and $5,000 fine (see above).
Other Important Information on the New York Medical Marijuana License Process
Here is some other important information and FAQs regarding the process of how to get a medical marijuana card in New York:
My New York Medical Marijuana Card has Expired. How Do I Get a Renewal?
MMJ cards in New York are good for one year. Similar to most states, the renewal process is the same as obtaining a new card – you will have to re-submit your application annually (once per year), including the $50 application fee (and any additional fees for a new certification from a qualified physician).
[Related Article: 3 Ways to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Online (in Minutes)]
Can I take My Meds to a Different State?
Who Can Use Medical Marijuana?
To use Medical Marijuana you must be above the age of 21. If you are under 21, a parent or legal guardian can complete the application for you as a designated caregiver.
Can I obtain a Medical Marijuana Card Online?
There are services which assist with the online medical marijuana card process. These online services use Telemedicine to allow patients to apply for a card. Click here to see which service was voted best for 2018
Can I use Medical Marijuana Anywhere?
It is important to remember that when smoking in public, it may be assumed that you are using it for recreational use, which is illegal on a Federal Level. It is advised to consume your medicine responsibly, in the safety of your home or in a private residence. Also, smoking medical cannabis is currently prohibited in New York, even with a valid MMJ card. Marijuana products must either be taken in oil/liquid form or via capsules (see above info on “Is Weed Legal in New York” for more info).
Related Article: How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card By State
How Much Should I consume?
We are not doctors or physicians and therefore you should always consult with a professional before establishing medical doses.
Can I Grow Marijuana in New York with a Medical Marijuana Card?
It is currently illegal to grow cannabis of any amount in New York, even with a valid MMJ card.
What to do if you’re not Approved for a Medical Marijuana Card in New York
Unfortunately, if you are not approved for your initial medical marijuana certification by a qualified physician, there is nothing else that you can do within the state of New York. However, physician consultation with NuggMD is incredibly quick and convenient, and many people with valid qualifying conditions (see above) have been approved in under an hour.
Lastly, it may be worth pointing out that marijuana is legal recreationally in Massachusetts (which borders NY to the east), but be advised that it is illegal to transport any cannabis products across state lines. Also, although Massachusetts is classed as a recreational state, it is still illegal on a Federal level, and strict criminal penalties may be applied.
If you have any other questions, feel free to view our New York FAQ page or contact us through our Facebook page.
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