Medical marijuana has been legalized in New York since 2014 and fully implemented as of January 2016. Since that time, several changes and additions to the rules have been made to make sure that as many patients as possible can benefit from the law. While every state has differences, most have defined
when, where, and how patients can use their medical marijuana. If you’re interested in how to get your medical marijuana card in New York, fill out an MDBerry application and someone will reach out and answer any questions you have and get the process going. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of New York’s medical marijuana policies.
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What is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is the use of cannabis to treat a medical condition as prescribed by a licensed practitioner. In New York, patients who suffer from one or more debilitating or life-threatening conditions may qualify to use medical marijuana if they have been approved by a licensed practitioner. The current list of recommended conditions is:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Spinal cord injury with spasticity
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Pain that degrades health and functional capability
- Alternative to opioid use
- Substance use disorder
The severe debilitating or life-threatening condition must also be accompanied by one or more of the following associated or complicating conditions:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Opioid use disorder
While the approved list may not include every illness where marijuana is an effective treatment, New Yorkers are encouraged to review the list periodically for any additions and to consult the advice of a medical marijuana provider. The main goal of the Compassionate Care Act was to ensure that every patient has access to the best medications for their conditions.
Not all medical providers can recommend cannabis as a treatment method. The state’s Department of Health under their Medical Marijuana Program has created a licensing board that has designed a program to educate providers on the best way to prescribe cannabis. Once the provider has completed and passed the course, they can be certified to see this particular group of patients. Residents are encouraged to visit the state’s website at to find a qualified practitioner in their area.
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Requirements for Medical Cannabis use in New York
Once patients have been approved for medical marijuana in New York, patients do have additional restrictions. Public use of medical marijuana is strictly prohibited. For several years smoking cigarettes has been under scrutiny and eventually restricted in all public areas. Despite this ban, the popularity of e-cigarettes or vapes as they are sometimes called has been allowed. Under the medical use act, individuals who have a medical use card can consume their cannabis in vaporization but are restricted to where they can use it. Currently, New York law prohibits the vaporization of marijuana in any public or commercial space where the health law prohibits traditional smoking. While these vapes may look like the same ones used for e-cigarettes, law enforcement has been trained to tell the difference. Use of a vaporizer for medical marijuana can result in confiscation and fines under the current laws.
Patients should always use great caution when taking their marijuana medications, so they do not draw any unnecessary attention to themselves. Although one might think that using medical marijuana while on your property might be allowed, those living within a certain distance from a school, daycare or youth center need to be hyper-vigilant when using their medications. If anyone outside the home can tell that you are using marijuana vaporization, the authorities can get involved.
Traveling with medical marijuana can also be an area where patients need to use caution. Although it is not advised, patients who chose to travel with cannabis may find that they can do so with ease in a personal vehicle. However, consuming marijuana is illegal in all motor vehicles located on both public and private roads, or in any parking lot. While it may not need to be stated, marijuana should be treated as alcohol when it comes to driving. In other words, it should be avoided. Driving under the influence of marijuana is just as dangerous as that of any other controlled substance. Law Enforcement will issue a citation if discovered, as well as other traffic charges, should an accident occur.
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Unfortunately, traveling by commercial transportation can pose problems, especially if going to another state. While more than two dozen states currently have legalized medical marijuana, only a half a dozen accept another jurisdiction’s medical use cards. These states are Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. This process of reciprocity differs from state to state and typically only allows visitors to possess cannabis but not purchase while there. Of course, there are a few exceptions, so it’s best to check with the local authorities when traveling.
Types of Medical Marijuana
Through the states medical use act, legislators determined that only certain forms of cannabis consumption should be allowed in New York. The most popular methods of smoking in a joint or bong as well as edibles have been prohibited. The current approved methods are:
- Capsules, tablets, lozenges
- Transdermal patches
While marijuana is a safe and effective treatment option for several medical conditions, patients who have been approved should be aware of the regulations regarding its use. Traveling in an around the empire state may not get you into any trouble if patients are not consuming while in the vehicle; however, out of state travel is a little murky.
Property owners do have more freedom when it comes to medical marijuana use if they are out of sight of the general public and not drawing attention to themselves. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case with renters and leaseholders. Because cannabis is still listed as a schedule 1 drug, most legal experts believe that if they include a ban in their lease or rental agreement, landlords can prohibit the use on their property. However, if patients are discrete and do not call attention to themselves, most landlords will opt to allow it for a good tenant.
Patients are encouraged to visit the state’s website here to ensure they are following all of the local and state guidelines. You can also find deals on medical marijuana products here, once you have obtained a doctor’s recommendation.