How to Get a New York Medical Marijuana Card [2019 Guide]

The Complete Guide
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on June 12, 2019

How to Get a New York Medical Marijuana Card

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.

[Need your Medical Marijuana Card ASAP? Let us help by Starting Here or continue directly to the NuggMD Official Website to get started with the online process.]

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

medical marijuana new york

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 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:

  • Cancer
  • ALS(Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathy (or other forms of nervous tissue/spinal cord damage)
  • Spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • 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
  • Seizures
  • 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.

new york medical marijuana

*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.

Need a Medical Marijuana Card? Let us help by Starting Here
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Article Sources:
  1. Adam Atkins

    I love your site. So informative. Finally got my card! Keep up the good work!

  2. Ellie Michaels
    Great to know

    Thank you I am moving to New York next May – and I am in need of a MMJ card, so this has proven so useful.

  3. Scott Akin
    Rejected Twice in New York

    I think New York is the toughest state for CBD. Have already been rejected by 2 doctors. Can anybody help me out as I need this for my Glaucoma which is getting worse day by day.

  4. Stephanie
    Alternative for Immatrex and Xanax

    I was wondering if the state of New York was allowing patients who suffer from Migraines and Anxiety to get Medical cards. I used to live in Colorado and I got my card there to help with symptoms but since moving I have had to go back to using Immatrex which makes me groogy and Xanax for anxiety and I don’t like it. Both medications are the only ones that work but the really screw up my day and make it hard to function sometimes when I have to take them.

  5. Elizabeth
    Qualifying question

    If one lives in NY and has been prescribed pain meds does that disqualify us from MM? Thanks for the info and your site!

  6. Joseph Quiles
    Happy Camper..

    good afternoon to all.
    i need to say from filling out the ?sss online application to receiving actual legit emails meaning not spam S#it anyway everything from point A to …went excellent the time and patients explaining details from applying for a medical marijuana card and being approved and what are of the benefits a card holder can have by it 2 thumbs up I received my card.

    Thank you, John Rose for your time!

  7. Diane Sutton
    Where to apply

    I am a new York resident, but I live in florida in the winter months, I have stage 4 lung cancer but at the moment I’m considered in dormant, how do i go about getting a medical card and where do I apply? Thank you

    1. Douglas Finch
      Split NY and FL residence

      Not a problem for NY snowbirds, but is for reverse snowbirds like me. FL will issue a medical marijuana card in about 11 days to those from out of state who are going to be here for 3 months or more. NY does not reciprocate, which sucks for those of us who are FL residents but spend 5 months at NY summer homes. Get your NY license, then apply for a FL one when you get here. Cureleaf and Trulieve both carry very nice strains, and the amount prescribed for me was generous, as in I would be totally catatonic if I actually used as much as allowed. As a competitive duplicate bridge player and on general principle I keep my consumption under control. I sure wish we had had this when my wife was being treated for cancer. She was on 450mcg of Fentynol very 3 days, and oxycodone every 3 hours as well as Gabapentin for nerve pain. This would have helped a lot. Even if you still hurt, sour diesel, green crack, or original glue strains are likely to make you not care that you do.

    2. Adam

      Have you checked out NuggMD?

  8. Joyce C
    Excited is an understatement

    I just got my card. Excellent article. Thanks

  9. Kevin
    Nervous I will get denied after seeing Joe's comment

    Joe said he was denied because he is prescribed pain medication. I was curious was this from nuggmd that you were denied. And I heard they passed something to not only substitute medical marijuana for opiates, but also people who have been addicted to opiates are eligible as well…. is this true? Because I’m currently prescribed suboxen (which I dont want to to be on and have wiend myself down and am almost off) and also seroquil for sleep…. but I’d really like to get my card so I dont need the seroquil and also to help me taper off the suboxone completely, and because it really does help for some of us who suffer from addiction… for instance I’ll get the urge to use, and start obsessing about using, and after smoking some marijuana that urge and obsession is lifted….I am just curious if they will deny me as well because if my current medications….. because ultimately I’m trying to get off them with help of marijuana an stay off

  10. Brandon
    Osteogenesis imperfecta

    I have a disease called Osteogenesis imperfect a, I was wondering if you had any idea if that’ll pass too be able too get a mmc.

    1. SDB

      My son has OI he’s still a minor but some of his doctors have suggested it here in Oklahoma … I’d think you’d qualify based on the chronic pain and need for opioids and all the side effects of OI

    2. Arthur

      I don’t think an OI diagnosis gets you an MMJ card in most/any states. But chronic pain conditions will qualify in many places. Speaking as someone with OI, I know there’s a lot of potential for chronic pain, especially after multiple surgeries. I hope that’s not your situation, but it should be easy to get a card if it is.

  11. Rob
    What steps should I take now

    I’m. Looking. To try to get medical. I have chronic pain for about 20 years and been in and off painkillers have done just about every treatment know to many too from. Injections, therapy and a million others. My primary. Is a. Medical pot prescriber but wants all my records of all these things I have tried in the past. Most of which or. Over ten years ago. I don’t remember doctors. Names. Or locations at this point what else can I do

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