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State Regulations

The Legal Status of Cannabis in New York

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Both medical and recreational cannabis are now legal in New York. Adults above the age of 21 can possess a maximum of 3 ounces of cannabis or up to 24 grams of cannabis in concentrated form. They may also use cannabis at any location where tobacco use is accepted.

In 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation permitting the usage of cannabis for medical reasons. This was after a “lengthy, emotional debate” on the issue by the Senate and a 49–10 vote in support of the legislature. After the signing, an 18-month window began allowing the state Department of Health to put in place a medical marijuana program that would provide non-smoking methods of marijuana consumption to patients.

The legislation also awarded five different contracts to private cannabis growers allowing them to also operate four dispensaries.  As of December 2021, the medical cannabis program in the state of New York had 3,455 practitioners as well as151, 284 patients.

In New York, a patient qualifies as a medical marijuana candidate if they suffer from any one of the following:

  • Chronic Pain ( Arthritis, Back Pain, Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Neck Pain, Severe Dysmenorrhea, Uterine Fibroids, Endometriosis, etc.)
  • Anxiety, PTSD, Insomnia, Depression, Panic Attacks, etc.)
  • B.D. (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), I.B.S(Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, (Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, cramps, etc.)
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome
  • Substance use Disorder/Opioid Use Disorder
  • Neuropathy, Radiculopathy, numbness, sciatica, pinched nerve, tingling, neuropathic pain, burning
  • Epilepsy, Seizure Disorder
  • Cancer
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Persistent or Severe Muscle Spasms
  • L.S. (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) / Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Huntington’s Disease

Medical cannabis patients are not allowed to possess cannabis in its whole form and neither should they hold more than a 30-day supply at one time.

Cultivation of cannabis plants is also not allowed in this state which has licensed not exceeding 5 producers and less than 20 dispensaries.

Recreational Cannabis in NY

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill to legalize recreational marijuana that had been approved by both houses votes (94-56 and 40-23 respectively) on March 31, 2021; this was one day after the approvals. Prior to this, possessing small amounts of cannabis was decriminalized and considered to be a violation.

According to this new law:

  • Adults aged 21 years and above are allowed the possession of not more than 3 ounces (85 g) of marijuana concentrated cannabis of not more than 0.85 oz. (24 g).
  • Adults who were 21 years and older could keep up to 5 lbs. of cannabis per person in their homes.
  • Home cultivation was permitted of not more than three mature as well as three immature marijuana plants per individual with a twelve tree maximum where a home had more than one adult.
  • As a result of this new law, previous criminal records that were marijuana-related were expunged for the State of New York.

As of October 2021, the state of New York prohibited the testing of both current and prospective employees for the use of marijuana by employers as it was discriminatory to employees who indulged outside of work.

Apart from “driving under the influence”, the NYPD does not list any other crime in relation to marijuana under the new laws.

The licensed sales of marijuana in New York are expected to start later in 2022.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.


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