Do you want to get marijuana in New York?
If yes! Then you must have to read this guide!
As recently the state has taken some major decisions regarding cannabis which one must know before heading to possess marijuana in New York. Currently, the state has illegalized recreational marijuana although there’s something to know which can make you access marijuana in the future.
Therefore, read along to know everything about marijuana along with Does and Don’ts regarding this. So, let’s get started:
Is Weed Legal in New York?
Yes and no, both!
Let me explain:
Marijuana is legal in the state for medical usage only while recreational usage remains illegal in 2021. Though the state authorities have expanded the decriminalization law of 1977 and made up to 2 oz marijuana a misdemeanor with up to $200 fine. That means one cannot access medical marijuana in the state for personal usage, legally.
While the state has relaxing medical laws allowing medical patients to get medical marijuana from the authorized sources. Although from the initial stage to the latest update, the state has quite improved its medical marijuana regulations, which we will discuss in detail later.
Apart from this, for recreational marijuana, the state government proposed a study on recreational usage in the state which ultimately measured different issues, including economic, social, and legal. However, the study was followed by an amended Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act bill, which would legalize and regulate cannabis in the state though it could not legalize marijuana in New York.
Therefore, in 2021, New York has legalized only medical cannabis while recreational marijuana is yet to be considered legal in the region.
History of the State Concerning Cannabis
The history of the state takes us back to the earlier 20th century when cannabis was restricted to be obtained after a prescription in 1927. At that time, medical cannabis and cannabis for all purposes were strictly banned.
Later on, within some upcoming years, the state didn’t take any legislative action, however, in 1973, state Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed legislation increasing the penalties for possession of 4 ounces of cannabis or more. This change in the legislation gave authority permission to give the offender imprisonment up to a maximum of 25 years depending upon the severity of the offense. Along with cannabis, other drug substances were also included in this law.
However, four years later, New York decriminalized the possession of 25 grams or less of cannabis to an infraction with a $100 fine. Well, later on, the state faced a huge spike in marijuana-related offenses and arrests which were around 5,25,000 between 1997 and 2010.
Apart from this, the state didn’t make any further changes in cannabis legislation until the year 2014 when the lawmakers legalized the medical use of cannabis in the state. This was the first time in New York that there was statewide legalization of marijuana in either of aspects. This law permitted medical patients to get cannabis in non-smokable forms while around five private marijuana cultivators were initiated under the government to operate 4 dispensaries for the medical marijuana needy.
Well, in 2019, New York was about to become the first state to create a legal, regulated marijuana market through the legislative process, however, due to certain circumstances the lawmakers expanded the 1977’s decriminalization and the recreational use of cannabis remained illegal.
Under this updated decriminalization, possession of cannabis up to 2 ounces remained a violation with a maximum fine of up to $200. However, the law didn’t change the penalties for possession of a large amount of marijuana along with marijuana sales, dealing, and trafficking penalization.
However, coming to the legalization of recreational marijuana, the authorities have shown a positive sign that in 2021, it might be legalized.
In nutshell, if you are going to New York then you can legally access medical cannabis. Although up to 2 oz of cannabis possession is decriminalized, it can lead one to some monetary fine. However, within the upcoming time, the authorities might take some decisions for recreational cannabis in the state.
Current Laws in Action in the State
Doesn’t matter how much the laws got changed previously, you have to follow the guidelines that are currently applied in the state for marijuana. So, have a look into this:
- Though recreational weed is not legal in the state, however, even if it got legalized in the region yet driving under the influence of weed will remain illegal like right now. As it can lead the offender to monetary penalization.
- Sharing marijuana to minors, distribution, drug trafficking remains illegal in New York and if anyone is found sharing weed below age 18 then he or she can be fined up to $5,000 and up to 7 years of imprisonment.
- Medical patients can access medical cannabis only from the authorized sources. Other sources will be restricted and can lead to drug trafficking penalization.
- After 2019 legislation personal possession of marijuana up to 2 oz is decriminalized and punishable with up to a $200 fine.
- Smoking or vaping marijuana in public remains restricted and it will be treated as a violation of New York’s tobacco control laws.
Possession, Cultivation, And Consumption
Medical patients of New York can possess up to a 30-day supply of cannabis-infused, non-smokable products. However, registered organizations will be permitted to distribute or manufacture additional products such as topicals, ointments, and patches.
Apart from this, personal marijuana possession under 2 ounces is a violation and subject to a maximum of $200 fine. However, public marijuana possession within 2 ounces is a class B misdemeanor and the offender will be punished with a three-month sentence. More possession will lead to more huge penalization and more time imprisonment.
Cultivating cannabis plants in New York is completely illegal and even medical patients are not permitted to grow their own cannabis plants. Rather they are limited to authorized centers for accessing medical marijuana.
Public consumption of marijuana for any purpose is illegal in the state and medical patients are supposed to consume cannabis products in their private space only. Even cannabis consumption is restricted for public places such as schools, university campuses, parks, and public transports.
Apart from this, driving a motor vehicle under influence of marijuana is illegal and can lead one to a monetary fine.
Medical Marijuana in the New York
New York’s Compassionate Care Act or S7923 has allowed medical use of cannabis in the state from the year 2014. It was the state’s first decision in favor of marijuana enthusiasts. Initially, this medical law permitted possession, use, transportation, and administration of medical cannabis for the qualifying conditions of patients. Also, this law permitted 4 dispensaries to be operated under the state government in starting.
However, within the upcoming time, the state’s authorities introduced more cannabis dispensaries in the region, which was around 25 dispensaries up to the year 2017. Also, according to the New York State Department of Health, around 1,28,718 medical patients have registered for the state medical marijuana program. As the patients were permitted to get cannabis from the authorized producers only, therefore, home cultivation in the state remained restricted.
To obtain medical cannabis in New York, the authorities have introduced certain medical symptoms that directly qualify for the state’s medical-marijuana program.
Qualifying medical conditions:
- Acute pain management
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Chronic pain
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Opioid substitution
- Spinal cord damage
Once the patient gets approval of cannabis medication after diagnosing with any of the mentioned symptoms, the patient can get access to medical cannabis from the authorized sources after getting an MMP approval card. To get issued this Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) card one needs to follow these simple steps:
Step 1. First of all, a patient must contact a practitioner registered with the Department of Health to get certified with the qualifying medical condition. The registering patient must be a New York resident.
Step 2. Once the patient gets certified, further online application is a must step to get a marijuana card issued. The patient can apply at the state’s official website of the health department. Once the application is submitted, the patient receives a temporary identification card which may be used to purchase approved medical marijuana products.
Step 3. Along with the application the patient needs to pay $50 for the processing fee. However, this fee can also be waived in case of financial hardship. Once the patient gets a permanent registry ID card then he or she can get access to medical marijuana statewide through authorized centers.
So, within these steps, you can obtain medical cannabis in New York. However, for out-of-state patients, the state’s medical-marijuana program does not accept any other state’s ID card.
Some Important FAQs
#1. How to get cannabis seeds in New York?
Cultivating marijuana plants in NY remains illegal in 2021 and therefore, there are no stores that can provide you high-quality cannabis seeds. Additionally, to cultivate marijuana seeds one needs to wait until the law didn’t allow them to do so.
#2. What are the penalties for possessing marijuana?
Marijuana possession under 2 oz can lead one to some monetary fine where large quantity possession can also lead to imprisonment and a huge monetary penalty.
#4. How can I get a medical marijuana card in NY?
Once the patient gets qualifying medical conditions, he or she can apply for the medical marijuana ID card from the official website of the NY health department. Once the application gets approved, the patient will be issued the ID card through which he/she can access medical cannabis in the state.
#5. Can I use the other states’ marijuana cards in NY?
No! New York doesn’t accept marijuana cards of other states’ as it permits only the state residents to access medical cannabis.
#6. When will be recreational marijuana legalized in NY?
Last year in 2020, the state Governor Cuomo pushed for statewide legalization of recreational marijuana although due to COVID-19, it got delayed and was supposed to again prioritize in 2021. Still, we can’t predict the future!
Upcoming Time of Cannabis in New York
Considering the current scenario in the state, as recently a study on recreational marijuana was done and even in 2020 a legislation to legalize recreational marijuana was pushed by the Governor, therefore, we can say that within 2021 and upcoming time, marijuana enthusiasts in the region can expect good news for recreational usage. Although until the law gets passed and implemented, one needs to follow the current laws and guidelines that are in action in the state.
Apart from this, if recreational cannabis got legalized in New York there will be much more opportunities for the new cannabis businesses which can ultimately help in increasing the state’s revenue.
Therefore, in the upcoming time, the cannabis future can be brighter!