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NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

Medical Marijuana in New York


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 marijuana.

Requirements. There are 7 requirements that a patient must satisfy before qualifying for a medical marijuana card.

  1. The patient must be a resident of New York or be treated in New York.
  2. The patient must be being treated in New York for the condition for which he/she is seeking medical marijuana.
  3. The patient must be certified by a New York physician who is registered by the Department of Health to recommend medical marijuana.
  4. The patient must be under that doctor’s care for the condition for which he/she is seeking medical marijuana.
  5. Your doctor must believe and be willing to certify that you will receive a therapeutic benefit from medical marijuana.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 is possessed.

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 patient’s doctor.

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.