Cannabis laws in New York are quite limiting. While the state of New York is considered as one of the most forward-thinking states in the US, marijuana is actually not legal for recreational use and even medical marijuana is a subject of limiting regulations.
We will take a look at the history of the making of today’s laws and how marijuana is regulated in the state of New York.
History of Cannabis Laws in New York
Back in 1977, marijuana was partially decriminalized, allowing the possession of 25 grams or less than an ounce a reason not to result in jail time but rather in only a $100 fine. It was quite recently when medical marijuana was fully legalized in terms of possession, production, use, delivery, and transport. This bill was passed in 2014 and was made a part of the cannabis laws in New York.
However, the cannabis laws in New York impose several limits as marijuana for smoking is not included as a marijuana form which is free to be consumed by medical marijuana patients. This bills also gave licences to five medical marijuana growers who were given the right to operate 4 dispensaries each.
Cannabis in New York via Royal Queen Seeds
Marijuana for recreational use is still considered illegal according to the cannabis laws in New York, even though there have been attempts to fully decriminalize marijuana for medical use. Governor Cuomo was the one who supported the idea of legalizing cannabis for recreational use, asking the state to fund a study and to explore the positive effects and benefits of recreational use. The study was indeed completed by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) however the findings have still not been released to the public.
The Department of Health in the state of New York (DOH) created a Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) as indicated by the cannabis laws in New York. The MMP is in charge of regulating, monitoring, and managing the registry of users and caregivers of medical marijuana. The MMP is also in charge of regulation of the dispensaries as stated by the cannabis laws in New York.
The age for both patients and caregivers is over 18 in the state according to the cannabis laws in New York, For patients younger than 18, the parent or the legal guarding must submit the application, Every patient might have up to two caregivers who are entitled to buy and transport medical marijuana on behalf of the patient.
Where Can You Buy Marijuana in New York?
The state of New York has state- certified dispensaries and buying weed in only legal in those shops. At the moment, weed in the form of smoking is not allowed even for medical marijuana users. Edibles are also a prohibited item according to the cannabis laws in New York, so the few forms which medical marijuana can be consumed in our capsules, oils, liquids, and vaporizers. Across the state of New York, there are only 5 companies that have a license to grow and sell marijuana in dispensaries and they are running all of the shops across the country.
Cannabis growth New York via Freedom Leaf
Medical marijuana in the state, according to the cannabis laws in New York, is a subject to 7% tax.
The cannabis laws in New York for oils and liquid consumptions are quite loose since the product don’t contain THC. However, vaporizing is not allowed in public and commercial spaces where smoking and vaping is not allowed by law. Also, marijuana in the form of vaping cannot be consumed within 100 feet of a school. Vaping is also illegal when it comes to vehicles on both public or private roads. Vaping is not allowed in a parked car, even if it is a private parking space in question according to the cannabis laws in Alaska.
There is a seven percent (7%) excise tax on medical cannabis as stated by the cannabis laws in New York.
Home Growing and Cultivation
Growing your own weed is illegal in the state according to the cannabis laws in New York even for medical marijuana users. certifying patients may only obtain their cannabis from a state-approved dispensary by showing their ID card. Additionally, the statement from the physician must include what sort of a form the patient should consume the cannabis in, what are the administration methods and the limitations. The dosage recommendation is not mandatory to state, yet it is advisable.
As you can see for yourself, medical cannabis laws in New York are quite limited and might make things hard for people in need.
Patients who register with the MMP and have legitimate reasons why they need access to medical cannabis will be granted permission to buy it in state-regulated dispensaries according to the cannabis laws in New York.
The following conditions are regarded as qualifying conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Spinal cord injury with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
New York Cannabis via GFarma
Chronic pain was the last condition that was added to this list in the cannabis laws in New York. This was done in 2017. However, there still are some limitations to it. The person who is experiencing chronic pain may only qualify as a patient if the pain has been ongoing for more than three months and if there are legitimate reasons to believe that the chronic pain might carry on for another three months or more. This needs to be a recognized qualified practitioner in order to be able to give such a written statement for qualification.
However, there’s more to the story. Apart from chronic pain, the patient needs to have at least one of the following associated or consequential conditions in order to qualify as a medical marijuana patient as stated by the cannabis laws in New York:
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
It is obvious that the regulations and the cannabis laws in New York, especially when it comes to using medical marijuana for chronic pain are very limiting and can be very damaging towards a person in need.
The Medical Marijuana Program of the state of New York allows for people who are in need of marijuana treatment to be able to obtain it. Still, the registering process is quite regulated and complicated and it might take a lot of time and effort before a person is able to obtain the medical marijuana ID card.
Here’s how the procedure in the State of New York looks like:
The patient must go to a practitioner who is recognized by the DOH and they are allowed to make recommendations whether marijuana can have a positive impact on the patient. If the practitioner concludes that marijuana can be beneficial, they sign a statement, indicating all of the benefits that medical marijuana can bring to the patient, as well as in which for should the patient use the marijuana and how. If possible, they should also state the dosage and frequency as stated by the cannabis laws in New York.
After receiving the statement from the practitioner, patients need to apply online for a medical marijuana ID card. If approved, the card will be delivered in the post.
After obtaining the card, qualifying patients are allowed to purchase marijuana from state-regulated dispensaries. They need to show the ID card and the certification form and they are allowed to buy only the product that the practitioner recommended in accordance with the cannabis laws in New York.
One such practitioner’s statement is valid only if the practitioner is qualified to deal with the condition. In order to further qualify, practitioners can complete an online course sponsored by the DOH and the Health Commerce System (HCS) as required by the cannabis laws in New York.
New York Cannabis via Puf Puf Post
Caregivers in the state of New York also need to be registered with the DOH in order to be able to buy medical cannabis on behalf of their patient. If approved, they will also receive an ID card which will allow them to purchase products for the patients in dispensaries. Their ID cards, however, are directly tied to the patients they are giving care to – when the patient’s card expires so does the caregivers.
At the moment, there is a $50 application fee for both users and caregivers, however, it has been reported that the state of New York is intending to drop the fee and make the application free of charge.
Cannabis Lab Testing in New York
As you can imagine judging by the strict regulations, cannabis testing is mandatory in the state of New York, All of the cannabis that hits the market in any form is tested in the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration approved lab. The testing process is quite extensive and all samples that go in the laboratory are tested for the following:
- Escherichia Coli (e. coli)
- Bile tolerant gram negative bacteria
- Mucor species
- Penicillium species
- Thermophilic Actinomycetes species
- Pesticide, herbicide, or fungicide
- Growth regulator
- Any other substance as required by the Commissioner of Health
At the moment, cannabis testing labs cannot be privately regulated and they must be approved by the regulating body.
All of the cannabis that hits the labs comes from certified producers. There are only 5 licensed growers in the state of New York at the moment.
Marijuana Possession Fines
Even though marijuana is not legal for recreational use, the fines and punishments are significantly lower in the state of New York when compared to other states where weed is illegal as well.
Possessing less than 25 grams of marijuana is not considered as a criminal offense and there is only a fine between $100 and $250. Jail time might be possible if the person is caught in possession of large quantities or the cannabis is carried around in public.
New York Cannabis Prohibition via Merry Jane
Sale and transportation charges are much more serious and they can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the quantity. Fines can go up to 15 years of jail time and $15.000 in fines.
Charges are the most serious for trafficking, where if caught with any amount of marijuana it can mean up to $100.000 in fines and between 15 and 25 years prison time!
Changes in Regulations
Even though marijuana still remains illegal for recreational use, some changes to the law are being done that are looking pretty positive.
As of recently, if caught smoking weed in public you will not be arrested yet you will be issued a ticket. The arrest is still possible if you fail to show identification, are smoking inside of a vehicle, the circumstances suggest that you might be a threat to the public.
This ticket obliges you to go in court and in front of a judge The judge will decide whether you need to pay a fine, but as stated previously, the fines are not high and they are likely to be $100. Jail time in such cases is not on the table, yet if this is not your first offense of this type the consequences might be bigger and the possession might be treated as a misdemeanor.
Even though at the moment recreational use of weed is illegal and medical marijuana is highly regulated, there is hope that all of this will change. The state of New York is actively engaging in activities to determine what benefits marijuana consumption can have even for recreational users If the results from the study done by the state turn out to be positive when they are published, rules might be changed and we might see marijuana being legalized in New York. As one of the most attractive states to live in, the legalization of marijuana might prove to be beneficial not only for the people but for the economy as well, as there will be more people who are producing marijuana, more testing labs and more dispensaries, consequently opening up new working positions. Only time will tell if the people of New York will be able to enjoy the benefits of freely consuming cannabis.