Is weed legal in New York?
Yes, it is. Both adult-use and medical cannabis are legal in the Empire State.
Cannabis has been decriminalized in New York since 2019.
Explore New York cannabis products on the Weedmaps app
After nearly legalizing cannabis in 2019, New York passed S854-A, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), in March 2021. The bill legalized purchasing, possessing, and transporting up to 3 ounces (85 grams) of weed and up to 24 grams of concentrate for adults 21 and older. The MRTA also established the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) to oversee the state’s medical, adult-use, and hemp programs.
The MRTA was written to address the harms of the War on Drugs, making it a goal to award 50% of cannabis business licenses to social and economic equity applicants as well as implementing provisions for automatic expungement and resentencing.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2014 under New York’s Compassionate Care Act, or S7923, for patients with qualifying conditions.
As a result of the passage of the MRTA, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was created and subsequently held their first meeting in October 2021. The OCM is the regulatory authority for the adult-use cannabis industry, as well as New York’s Medical Cannabis program, which was previously regulated by the New York State Department of Health.
Where is it safe to purchase cannabis in New York?
Certified patients can purchase medical cannabis from state-regulated organizations operating dispensaries throughout the state. Patients must bring their registry ID cards and certifications. They are allowed to purchase a 60-day supply of cannabis in forms specified by their doctor. Designated caregivers obtaining medical cannabis on behalf of patients need their caregiver registry identification cards and their patients’ certifications. Some registered organizations also offer online ordering.
Licensed adult-use dispensaries are not yet operational for consumers but the OCM has indicated they expect these retailers to open up by the end of 2022.
Possessing cannabis in New York
Adults 21 and older can possess up to 3 ounces (85 grams) of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate.
Registered patients may hold up to a 60-day supply of an approved medical cannabis product at any time. Patients and designated caregivers must have their medical cannabis registry ID card on hand at all times when possessing medical cannabis.
Vaporizing or smoking cannabis products is illegal in places where tobacco smoking is prohibited.
Cannabis products may not be transported outside of New York State.
Medical Cannabis Registry Program
Qualifying patients must first be certified by a practitioner registered with the Department of Health. Patients must be New York residents or temporarily residing in the state for medical treatment.
Once certified, patients create an account online to obtain a state registry identification card.
Rules for caregivers
A certified patient may designate up to five caregivers during the registration process. Patients can designate certain facilities as caregivers, although facility participation is optional.
After being designated by a patient, caregivers are required to go through the same application process as patients and must also carry the required identification. Once approved, the caregiver can assist up to four patients in obtaining, possessing, and administering medical cannabis. Caregivers are allowed to possess up to a 60-day supply of cannabis on behalf of each patient. Cannabis must be in the proper consumption forms and dosages for the specified patients.
Below is the list of qualifying conditions for patients in New York’s Medical Cannabis program. Notably, the OCM expanded the qualifying conditions list to allow certified practitioners to recommend medical cannabis for any condition they feel can be treated by cannabis.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pain that degrades health and functional capability
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal cord injury with spasticity
- Substance-use disorder
- Any other condition certified by the medical practitioner
Certifications or registry ID cards from other states are not accepted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Employers in New York are prohibited from testing their employees for cannabis unless the employer is permitted to do so pursuant to the provisions of Labor Law Section 201-D(4-a) or other applicable laws. You can learn more about adult-use cannabis and the workplace here.