Medical Marijuana in New York
On January 7, 2016 New York will become the twenty third state to allow
people to legally possess marijuana for medical purposes. While the Compassionate
Care Act was actually signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2014, this
will be the first time where people can actually receive marijuana. New
Yorkers need to educate themselves on the new law including the requirements
to receive medical marijuana and the rules once someone does possess the
Requirements. There are 7 requirements that a patient must satisfy before qualifying
for a medical marijuana card.
- The patient must be a resident of New York or be treated in New York.
- The patient must be being treated in New York for the condition for which
he/she is seeking medical marijuana.
- The patient must be certified by a New York physician who is registered
by the Department of Health to recommend medical marijuana.
- The patient must be under that doctor’s care for the condition for
which he/she is seeking medical marijuana.
- Your doctor must believe and be willing to certify that you will receive
a therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana.
- A patient must have a “serious condition”. A serious condition
is defined as: having one of the following severe debilitating or life-threatening
conditions: cancer, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or
acquired immune deficiency syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s
disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal
cord with objective neurological indication or intractable spasticity,
epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s
disease, or as added by the commissioner; and (ii) any of the following
conditions where it is clinically associated with, or a complication of,
a condition under this paragraph or its treatment: cachexia or wasting
syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures; severe or persistent
muscle spasms; or such conditions as are added by the commissioner.
- The final requirement is that patients receive an identification card from
the Department of Health and carry on their person at all times that marijuana
In order to receive a marijuana identification card, an application will
be sent to the Department of Health. There is a $50 fee that can be waived
if the patient is experiencing a financial hardship. The identification
cards are valid for a period of one year unless the patient is suffering
from a terminal illness, in which case the card is valid until death.
If a patient is under the age of 21, a parent or guardian can apply for
an identification card as a caregiver. If approved the identification
card will list any limitations, such as dosage, that is specified by the
Once a patient receives his card there are still rules that must be followed.
A patient may only receive up to 30 days of a prescription at a time and
may refill their prescription only in the last 7 days. Medical marijuana
must be in the original packing at all times. Patients may not consume
medical marijuana in a public place. If these rules are not complied with
then a patient will lose the protection of the law and can be prosecuted
as though he did not have a medical marijuana card.
For people looking to open a dispensary, you are out of luck. The law allows the Commissioner to license five Registered Organizations
to grow medical marijuana. Each of these organizations are permitted to
open four dispensaries for a total of twenty dispensaries throughout the
state. The licenses have already been issued.
Finally the law also protects patients in areas other than criminal law. It is illegal to discriminate against a person in regards to housing,
employment, or public accommodations based on being permitted to possess
medical marijuana. The fact that a patient has a marijuana identification
card also cannot be used against them in custody hearings unless there
is evidence of behavior that creates an unreasonable danger to the children.
As people begin to take advantage of the new law, new issues will likely
arise and more questions will be answered.