New York Medical Marijuana Laws

Latest Developments in the New York Medical Marijuana Program - November 13, 2021

Since the legalization of Medical Marijuana in 2014, New York has joined the league of progressive cannabis-friendly states, as far as medicinal use goes. On the flip side, it wasn’t until March 2021 that New York legalized the recreational use of cannabis.

The Medical Marijuana Program in New York has been established since the legalization in 2014 and it has been consistently expanded and updated to be better accommodating to the needs of patients and caregivers.

As of November 2021, New York has over 3,400 registered practitioners in its Medical Marijuana Program and over 151,000 certified patients. A little over a year since the last update to the program, the Cannabis Control Board of the New York State Department of Health has approved an expansion to the Medical Marijuana Program.

Here are highlights of the enhancement that you need to know as a patient or caregiver:

Personal Cultivation of Cannabis

Medical Marijuana Laws in New York
  • The central objective of the enhancement is to expand patient access to medical marijuana. The proposed regulation allows certified patients, who are/will be receiving treatment with medical marijuana to cultivate cannabis in their homes. This proposed access is subject to public comment at the moment, under a 60-day period from October 21, 2021, until it is officially adopted into the program.
  • The enhancements proposed for the Medical Marijuana Program are published in an amended Chapter II ‘Rules of the Office of Cannabis Management’ of the Cannabis Law in New York. This chapter includes Part 115 ‘Personal Cultivation of Cannabis,’ where updates are made with Section 115.1 ‘Definitions,’ Section 115.2 ‘Personal cultivation of cannabis,’ and Section 115.3 ‘Cultivation of medical cannabis by certified patients and designated caregivers.’
  • Under Section 115.3 of Part 115, Chapter II of the Cannabis Law, it is noted that certified patients who are twenty-one years of age or older may cultivate cannabis. Section 115.3 also mentions that “No landlord may refuse to lease, or otherwise penalize a certified patient or designated caregiver solely for engaging in medical cannabis activity as authorized by this Part and in accordance with Cannabis Law.”

Vaporization as a Form of Medical Cannabis

The New York Medical marijuana program enhancement includes the following implementations, which were effective as of October 5, 2021.

With the latest enhancement to the Medical Marijuana Program, vaporization with whole flower cannabis is now an approved form of medical cannabis in the state of New York.

While whole flower cannabis products remain unavailable at registered dispensaries, this enhancement allows for easier and highly beneficial consumption of medical marijuana for patients who cannot ingest the substance through other forms. It also benefits patients who wish to explore or simply prefer vaporization as their method of consuming their prescribed doses of medical marijuana.

The New York State Department of Health continues to work on brand reviews and approvals for registered organizations and dispensaries who proposed this new form of administering medical cannabis. Once the department has approved the final products, whole flower cannabis products will be made available to patients.

The Registration Fee Waiver Is Permanent

The required $50 registration fee for patients and caregivers was previously temporarily waived. With the new enhancements of the program, the registration fee waiver is now made permanent, which increases access of patients to medical marijuana. It also means that there will be more certified and registered caretakers to help patients.

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Medical Marijuana Card in New York

60-Day Supply From Dispensaries

A significant percentage of patients who need medical marijuana are diagnosed with serious illnesses and suffer pain. Taking into cognizance the process of getting supplies on shorter periods, the Department of Health has now allowed registered dispensaries and organizations to dispense up to sixty days of medical marijuana supply to registered patients, based on their medical practitioner’s recommendations.

Expansion of Practitioner List

Under the new enhancements to the program, the type of practitioners who can certify patients for medical marijuana and recommend the use covers a wider range. Any medical practitioner who is licensed, certified, or registered under the State of New York to prescribe controlled substances is now eligible to certify patients, and this includes midwives and dentists.

The expanded list of practitioners will still be mandated to complete a two-hour course, at least, and also register with the Department of Health before they can certify patients for medical marijuana.

These enhancements and updates to the Medical Marijuana Program in New York are a highly welcome development as it improves access to care and treatment for patients across the state. By outlining the definitions and provisions for patients, the laws are in a better place to protect the interest of patients and caretakers.

Home cultivation of marijuana also allows the Department of Health to certify the quality of marijuana used in treating patients, and better regulate the registered dispensaries. The enhancement of New York’s Medical Marijuana Program is a step in the right direction and if you need a medical marijuana card in New York, we have you covered!

Selena Mora

A writer at heart and a sub-editor by habit, Selena Mora churns content for various online businesses. Her unique specialty is cannabis, and she has been following the industry for the past five years. She brings her writing personality, research, facts, SEO insights, and experience to the table. Besides cannabis, she also covers niches like travel, beauty, health, law, marketing, and literature. She is currently providing content solutions to Online CBD Store and other respected companies.

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