This post is sponsored by NuggMD, where you can get a New York medical marijuana card online by speaking to a NY marijuana doctor today!
If you’re a resident of New York, reading this article right now, chances are you already use cannabis. Chances would also suggest that you’re using it illegally, at least according to federal and state law, and that you’re here because you’re interested in learning how you can become a legal, licensed and registered patient under New York’s medical marijuana laws.
So, how DO you get your medical marijuana card and certification in New York? Is it a relatively easy process, or incredibly difficult? Truth is, it used to be pretty hard, but with the addition of chronic pain to the list of conditions that qualify you for a medical marijuana card in NY (and the fact you can complete the entire process online), things just got a whole lot easier.
In fact, click here to start your New York certification process 100% online with the nation’s leading telemedicine provider for cannabis evaluations. They’ve helped over 50,000 California patients, and now offer their service in New York!
After all, in 2014 the State of New York passed Assembly Bill 6357, which made medical marijuana legal in New York under a state-regulated medical marijuana program, so we KNOW it’s possible.
While the New York Medical Marijuana Program is stricter than others in the country, it’s available for patients with a variety of different conditions, and as of recently, those suffering from chronic pain (which come on, that’s a LOT of us).
To legally participate and buy medical cannabis from New York dispensaries, you need to get a certification (AKA doctor’s recommendation) from a practitioner registered with the state’s MMJ program.
We know all the legal stuff and processes can get a little overwhelming. Spend a few minutes here while we break down everything you need to know about legal medical marijuana access in New York.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about:
- New York’s medical marijuana laws
- How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New York
- How to Find a New York Medical Marijuana Doctor
- What are the Requirements for Medical Marijuana in New York?
- How to See a Licensed Doctor via Telemedicine (Video Evaluation)
- How to Get Medical Marijuana in New York After Receiving a Certification
- Which Registered Organizations (Dispensaries) are Legally Allowed to Sell Medical Cannabis
NY Marijuana Laws: Is Weed Legal in New York?
Is marijuana legal in New York? Not quite, there are not any slated plans for recreational marijuana in the state, but the good news is that medical cannabis has made some major progress.
For instance, Assembly Bill 6357 was approved and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 19, 2014.
This did several things. First off, it removed state-level criminal penalties (found through new york pen code 221) on both the use and possession of marijuana provided the patient have a written letter from a physician. That letter has to state that the patient may benefit from the usage of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition or as the result of treating such a condition.
Practitioners must clearly state the following on a patient’s certification: authorized brand and form of the approved medical cannabis, how it may be administered, and then any limitations. Dosage, however, is not required.
Assembly Bill 6357 also regulates the manufacturing, sale, and use of marijuana also known as The Compassionate Care Act (New York). It states that only five registered organizations may cultivate, manufacture, and dispense medical marijuana. Those registered organizations must go through an extensive vetting process by the Commissioner of the Department of Health.
Once selected, each registered organization may have up to four state-regulated dispensaries to sell and dispense medical marijuana. We’ll point you towards these registered organizations (New York medical marijuana dispensaries) in a later section.
After ironing out the details, New York launched the medical marijuana program with eight dispensaries on January 7, 2016. Total dispensed product may not exceed a 30-day supply. Allowable forms of medical marijuana include liquids, vape oil, inhaler, and capsules. Under New York law, smoking cannabis is not permitted, and neither are edibles. Cultivation of medical cannabis is not allowed under New York law.
So there you have it. Indeed, weed is decriminalized in NY to some degree, in that you won’t go to jail for a minor first offense. It’s treated more like a minor traffic violation. That isn’t to say you can’t be prosecuted for the unlawful possession of marijuana in New York; it depends on the amount you’re found carrying.
Needless to say though, it’s now easier than ever for people with legitimate medical conditions to finally gain access to medical marijuana doctors in New York, and get their medical marijuana card.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New York
To obtain a medical marijuana card in New York, you must be a legal resident of the state of New York with authentic identification as a proof of residency. If you do not have a state-issued ID, a passport with a New York address can also be used. In the event you do not have either, bank statements and utility bill copies also may be accepted as proof of residency.
The next step of the process is obtaining a written certification from a registered practitioner. You can do this either by doing an in-person visit (there are currently only 800 doctors in New York registered to do this) or online with a telemedicine doctor authorized to write a recommendation for medical cannabis. For now, let’s cover the in-person process, and we’ll circle back later to explain the super simple and convenient telemedicine version (which we recommend).
If you’re unsure about medical marijuana, it may be in your interest to ask your primary physician first for an in-depth discussion about whether medical marijuana may help manage your condition or not.
If he or she has determined that medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment for and is registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program, your doctor may issue your certification for medical marijuana. If your doctor is not registered with the program, they can refer you to a doctor who is registered for your certification. If your doctor refers you to another doctor for your certification, all your medical records and any relevant document should be sent to the recommending doctor’s office.
Keep in mind, it’s incredibly difficult to find medical marijuana doctors in New York who are registered through the state’s MMJ program, since the State Health Department refuses to make public these doctors’ information (and hence the reason why telehealth is vastly more effective for many patients).
What Are the New York Medical Marijuana Requirements?
You must have one of the qualifying conditions for New York’s Medical Marijuana Card. The qualifying conditions include Cancer, HIV positive status, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Spasticity, Huntington’s Disease, and neuropathies.
Effective March 22, 2017, chronic pain was added to the list of qualifying conditions by Dr. Howard Zucker, Health Commissioner, who is in favor of the improvements.
Dr. Zucker said: “Improving patient access to medical marijuana continues to be one of our top priorities, as it has been since the launch of the program,” he said in a statement. “These key enhancements further that goal.”
Chronic pain is described as any severe, debilitating pain that the practitioner determines worsens health and functional capability, pain that has intolerable side-effects, that has or is expected to last three months or longer, and other types of therapy that have either failed to treat or are too harmful to apply. Chronic pain also includes wasting syndrome (cachexia), seizures and severe muscle spasms, and severe nausea.
After your doctor confirms you have a qualifying condition that can benefit from medical marijuana, the doctor will give you a written certification. You must then complete an application for a New York Medical Marijuana Card through the Department’s online system through NY.gov and submit to the designated state authority. There is a $50 application fee, which is billed later unless you obtained a financial hardship waiver. You will need to submit proof of identity and residency during the process.
As long as you conduct your evaluation with a trusted, high-quality doctor (like you’ll find with NuggMD, the service we recommend shortly), they should provide you the resources & instruction necessary to complete your registration process with the state.
Once you are approved, you will receive your New York Medical Marijuana Card in the mail. You will need both the card and your certification to purchase medical marijuana products at a state-regulated dispensary.
How to Find a Medical Marijuana Doctor in New York
There are currently only 800 registered practitioners able to recommend medical cannabis in New York legally. Recently, physicians’ assistants became eligible to certify patients so long as their supervising physician is also registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program. If you practitioner is not registered, they will be able to refer you to someone who is. You also have the option to get your certification via Telemedicine Evaluation, which is much easier than finding a MMJ doctor evaluations near you.
In March 13, 2015, the State of New York passed Senate Bill 2405, “The Telehealth Amendment Act” allowing for “the use of electronic information and communication technologies by telehealth providers, to deliver health care services, which shall include the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and/or self-management, of a patient.” With the passage of Assembly Bill 6357, New York law allows for the use of telemedicine to obtain a medical marijuana evaluation.
How An Online Telemedicine Evaluation Works
There are but a few (and none but one has been properly vetted or recommended by patients) options for getting your doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana in New York.
Here we will take you through the entire process found at NuggMD, where getting a Medical Marijuana Evaluation online is fantastically simple and easy. And it’s no wonder, the company has already helped over 50,000 patients in California connect with a licensed doctor online to get their medical marijuana license.
Exceptional customer service, an easy-to-use system, the cheapest price available, and well-informed doctors who take the time to understand your medical history and answer your every question make NuggMD the standout in a web of potential providers.
Bonus: NuggMD also helps you make your medical marijuana miraculously materialize (say that five times fast) once approved. They connect you with legal, state-regulated marijuana dispensaries near you once you have received your recommendation, and card. But that service, that is, ordering marijuana delivery in New York, is not yet available in the state. The company hopes to introduce online cannabis ordering and marijuana delivery in New York State in the coming months.
Regarding the online process, your information is safely stored. All your sensitive data is securely tucked away in an HIPAA compliant and encoded database, so all your information stays secure. NuggMD also guarantees completely safe credit transactions through its website.
Here’s the best way you get your New York medical marijuana card super quick, and at the lowest cost we’ve seen:
- Create a profile at NuggMD.com on any tech gadget with internet access like your desktop, laptop, tablet or even cell phone.
- Complete a short profile with your basic information. You can expect to provide the basics like name, address, and birthdate. The next step requires you to discuss your medical history and conditions in greater detail so the recommending doctor can measure best to educate you on ways medical marijuana may benefit you.
- Then you enter your payment information and which allows you to video chat with a fully New York board-licensed, medical marijuana-friendly doctor to finish your evaluation. It isn’t a long chat, just 5 or 10 minutes, but can last as long as you need if you have questions.
- If you’re approved to receive a medical marijuana recommendation, as a NuggMD member, you’ll pay $199 total (again, it is the lowest online price we’ve seen so far). And if you didn’t get approved (sorry), your evaluation is free!
- Once you’re approved, you can expect an email afterwards with your certification, as well as instructions on how to complete your medical marijuana registration process for NY state.
- With those instructions, you’ll want to complete your application and register with the New York Medical Marijuana Card Program (and pay your $50 application fee). The card will be mailed to you once approved, and after that you’ll be all set to purchase cannabis from designated state-regulated dispensaries!
Per New York Law, recommendation letters (AKA certification, weed card, prop 215 card cannabis card, etc.) are good for one year from the date on the letter, and then you will be required to obtain a medical cannabis card renewal.
While that may seem like a pain, it’s refreshing to know that you can go through this same simple process again next year!
However, New York also stipulates that patients follow up at least every 90 days with the same physician that issued their recommendation, so you’ll want to schedule a follow-up appointment (which can be done online through NuggMD) after completing your initial 420 evaluation.
Now here’s the question I know is on your mind…
After Being Approved, How Do You Get Medical Marijuana in New York?
Let’s start with the rules for marijuana access:
- Those with a Medical Marijuana Card may only purchase approved types of medical marijuana sold only at state-monitored dispensaries associated with the five registered organizations in New York.
- The types of medical marijuana available for legal purchase and consumption are liquids, oils for vaporizing, inhalers, or capsules.
- Per New York law, edibles and smoking the flowers of the cannabis plants are still illegal and are not included in the approved medical marijuana types.
So, where can you buy medical marijuana in New York? The answer is at Registered Organizations.
Registered Organizations may legally cultivate, manufacture, and dispense approved medical marijuana products in the state. They must meet the highest quality standards in New York State. Final products must be tested for their cannabinoid profile and pesticides or other contaminants. They also must adhere to New York’s product and dispensing label requirements which include, but are not limited to: warnings of potential allergens which may be in the product, warnings of adverse effects, contraindications, and much more. Each Registered Organization is valid for two years unless they violate any part of their agreement.
According to Assembly Bill 6357, there may only be five Registered Organization in the state, and each Registered Organization can have up to four dispensing facilities which must be owned and operated by the Registered Organization. These facilities must report dispensing information to the New York State Prescription Monitoring Program Registry. They also must consult with the registry before dispensing approved medical marijuana products to certified patients or their designated caregivers.
Each Registered Organization can sell up to five brands of medical marijuana. One brand must be low THC and high CBD, and one brand must contain equal amounts of THC and CBD. They also are banned from selling the unprocessed whole flower. Additionally, they must adhere to the marijuana pricing policies of the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.
Here is a list of the five Registered Organizations and their associated dispensaries:
Bloomfield Industries, Inc.
Bloomfield Industries does not refer to their dispensaries as retail areas and instead call them Patient Resource Centers. They currently have three locations but will be opening their fourth location in Manhattan soon. They recommend making an appointment to ensure short wait times and the best service possible
Williamsville (serving the Buffalo-area)
52 South Union Road, Suite 102
Salina (serving the Syracuse-area)
1304 Buckley Road, Suite 106
2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W75
Columbia Care NY LLC
Columbia Care NY has four dispensaries in New York providing premium product and education. You will need to schedule an appointment or attend the very specific Walk-In Hours each week.
New York City
212 E 14th Street
1333 E Main Street
345 Cornelia Street
200 West Ridge Road
Etain is a family-owned, and female-owned business providing safe and consistent products with a high level of compassionate care through their four dispensaries. Appointments are highly encouraged and can be scheduled online.
Tip: Be sure to pay particular attention to their days and hours of operation.
402 North Pearl Street
445 State Route 28
2140 Erie Boulevard East
55 Main Street
PharmaCannis has an impressive website with a wealth of information and four dispensaries to serve clients.
25 Northpointe Parkway, Suite #30
642 Old Liverpool Road
10 Executive Park Drive
405 Huntspoint Avenue
Vireo Health of New York LLC
Vireo’s major focus is on safety and precision. They also offer online ordering and delivery from their four dispensaries, but you must make an in-person or online appointment before you can purchase approved medical marijuana.
221-223 E. Post Road
*only accepts cash payments
89-55 Queens Boulevard
*only accepts cash payments
589 Harry L Drive
Johnson City, NY
*only accepts cash payments
38 Fuller Road
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Medical Marijuana in New York
- What conditions qualify for a medical marijuana card in New York?
Cancer, HIV positive status, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Spasticity, Huntington’s Disease, and neuropathies. Chronic pain is also now a qualifying condition.
- Where can I find a registered doctor?
If your primary physician is not registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program, he or she can recommend a physician who is registered. You can also use a qualified telemedicine service like NuggMD.
- What if my primary care physician is not registered with the Medical Marijuana Program?
Your doctor can refer you to a physician who is registered with the New York’s Medical Marijuana Program or you can use a telemedicine service to get your certification.
- What types of marijuana are allowed?
New York State allows liquids, vape oil, inhaler, and capsules. The smoking of cannabis and edibles are both illegal in New York even with a Medical Marijuana Card.
- Can I grow my own marijuana if I have a New York Medical Marijuana Card?
No. The Compassion Care Act does not allow private cultivation of marijuana in New York.
- How much medical marijuana can I purchase at one time?
You may purchase up to 30-days’ worth of approved medical marijuana from a state-regulated dispensary, owned and operated by one of the five Registered Organizations in New York.
- Once I get certification from a registered practitioner, how do I get a Medical Marijuana Card?
You will need to complete an application for a New York Medical Marijuana Card through the Department’s online system NY.gov. You will also have to pay a $50 application fee and submit proof of identity and residency in addition to your written certification from a registered doctor.
- When will my card arrive?
Once your application has been successfully submitted and approved (watch for any follow-ups in email or regular mail for missing documents or clarification), you will receive your card within three business days.
- Where can I purchase my medical marijuana?
You can buy your medical marijuana through any of the dispensaries owned and operated by the five Registered Organizations in New York who are: Bloomfield Industries, Inc., Columbia Care NY LLC, Etain LLC, PharmaCannis LLC, and Vireo Health of New York LLC.
- What if I am unable to go to the dispensary physically?
Some dispensaries have delivery and online appointments. You can also add up to two caregivers (you will need to do this when you complete your application) who are authorized to pick-up medical marijuana on your behalf.
- Will all dispensing facilities have the same products?
All Registered Organizations can sell up to five brands of medical marijuana in different approved forms (liquid, vape oil, capsule, and inhaler). One of those brands must be a low THC/high-CBD product, and at least one brand must contain equal amounts of THC and CBD. Each Registered Organization will likely have different products but should carry similar stock at each of their associated dispensaries.
- Can I use my out-of-state medical marijuana card to purchase medical marijuana while I am in New York?
No. Only patients with a New York Medical Marijuana Card may purchase legal medical marijuana in approved New York dispensaries.
So there you have it, folks. This massive essay should serve as everything you’ll ever need to know about becoming a licensed medical marijuana patient in New York (remember, seeing a NY medical weed doctor is as easy as connecting with one through video chat using a service like NuggMD) and access the wondrous healing herb that is cannabis.
Should you have any questions about the process at all, NuggMD actually offers live chat support during almost all hours of the day on their website!