In July of 201, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York Legislature enacted the Compassionate Care Act, which gave New Yorkers with qualifying medical conditions and a doctor’s prescription limited access to marijuana products. We’ll have a look at the Medical Marijuana laws in New York and show you how and if you are eligible to join the medical marijuana program.

The New York Medical Marijuana Program

The New York Medical Marijuana Program is only available to New York Residents with severe medical conditions. Medical marijuana products are distributed by State approved Dispensaries only. If you are interested in using medical marijuana to treat a medical condition, discuss it with your doctor to see if medical marijuana will be right for you.

After getting your physician’s approval to receive marijuana for medical use, it’s worth noting that your doctor will also need to be registered with the Department of Health and that doctor will need to have been the one treating you for your medical condition.

New York patients must still register online at the Department of Health’s online Patient Registration System to obtain a registry identification card for access to medical marijuana products at a local dispensary.

What conditions qualify for the Medical Marijuana Program in New York?

If you are not sure whether or not you qualify for New York’s Medical Marijuana program, we have a list from the NY Compassionate Care Acts website of the medical conditions that qualify:

Will additional conditions be added to the list?

Yes, the Commissioner of Health may add new conditions to the list. In fact, the Department of Health has been analyzing many studies on Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rheumatoid arthritis. If the Commissioner sees merit in prescribing medical marijuana to patients with these conditions, he will quickly add it to the list of currently covered conditions.

Where can I find a Medical Marijuana Doctor in NY?

You will need to find a doctor that’s already completed the 4 and a half hour course educating practitioners on medical marijuana use. New York has over 600 registered physicians now, so you can find a doctor relatively anywhere in New York. If your doctor does not approve your reason for needing medical marijuana, you won’t be able to get a registry identification card.

Where are the legal cannabis dispensaries in New York?

There is a list of dispensaries open now within the boroughs and even several upstate.

What does my medical card get me at a New York dispensary?

The medical marijuana laws in NY are relatively strict. The flower form of marijuana is not available for smoking because of the danger associated with smoking. Patients will have to use extracts, tinctures, oils, and edibles if they want to get medicated, even though smoking as a method of consumption has found to have more immediate relief, added benefits, and less harmful side effects than alternatives like edibles.

Patients will not be allowed to purchase or possess more than a 30 day supply of medical marijuana. After receiving medical marijuana, it must be kept in its original packaging otherwise it may be confused for illegal marijuana.

Where can you smoke?

Public smoking of even medical marijuana remains illegal in the State of New York. You may consume marijuana or on private property if you have permission to do so.

Are patients and caregivers protected from discrimination?

Within the provisions it was declared that patients, caregivers, practitioners, or employees “shall be denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to, they shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege.” So in New York you can rest easy and know you can’t be arrested or fired for using your medicine.

The future of the Medical Marijuana Program in New york:

While some believe the way the program is currently being run is very careful and potentially valuable to patient treatment, others think the program is not doing enough for patients. There are medical conditions that patients are waiting for the DOH to add to he list of qualifying conditions.

Even patients with qualifying conditions may not be getting the best available medicine to them because smoking marijuana provided added benefits that aren’t present in any of the forms currently available to New York patients. More research needs to be done on the benefits of inhaling marijuana before the DOH will add raw marijuana to the list of marijuana products available in NY.