In the state of New York, a patient who has been diagnosed with any of the qualifying medical conditions is legally protected under New York’s medical marijuana law, according to Assembly Bill 6357 (PDF). A patient suffering from one of the following life-threatening, debilitating or otherwise severe conditions listed below might qualify for New York Medical Marijuana treatment.
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- Pain (chronic or severe)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Muscle Spasms
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable Spasticity
- Opioid User Disorder
- Crohn’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
Information about the New York Medical Marijuana Program
- To enroll in the program the patient must be eighteen (18) years or older. A patient younger than eighteen (18) years of age must have designated and registered an Approved Caregiver on behalf of the patient.
- The patient must be a resident in the state of New York and proof must be provided, either in the form of a state issued ID card or a New York State Driver’s License.
- If the patient does not have a valid state issued ID card or Driver’s license, a U.S passport along with a document that serves as a proof of address such as a bank statement or utility bill might be accepted by the state.
- The patient must obtain an evaluation from a certified practitioner within the state, and be diagnosed with one or more of the qualifying medical conditions. Find a certified medical professional here (insert link to search page)
- All patients are required to obtain legitimate health documentation or medical records outlining their specific diagnosis. The patient’s existing medical records should be transferred to the recommending certified practitioner prior to their first visit. This is to ensure that the process can proceed without delay.
- The patient must be diagnosed with at least one of the qualifying conditions for New York. They will need to obtain a written certification from a certified practitioner who is a licenced to practice and recommend medical marijuana treatment in New York state. You can find certified medical marijuana practitioners in New York here.
- The patient must sign up for an account at my.ny.gov. When creating a new account select ‘Medical marijuana data management system’.
- After the patient has received a medical marijuana recommendation, they must submit an online application to the New York State Department of Health Patient Registry. Designated caregivers must also register with the New York State Department of Health.
- All patients and designated caregiver must pay the application fee of $50.00.
- A patient can designate up to two (2) designated caregivers.
- The Medical marijuana registration will expire once the recommendation expires.
- The patient must submit an application for a New York medical Marijuana card to the appropriate state authority in order to be approved for the New York state medical marijuana program.
- Once the application process is complete, and the patient has been approved, a temporary Registry ID card will be issued to the patient through their my.ny.gov account. Approved Medical Marijuana products can be purchased with your state issued ID. The Medical Marijuana ID card will be sent through the mail to the address listed in the application.
For more information about the New York State Medical Marijuana Program, see FAQ.
H2: Accessing Medical Marijuana in New York
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, which means that doctors cannot prescribe this drug to their patients because marijuana prescriptions are illegal. Therefore, patients cannot fill a prescription for medical marijuana at a local pharmacy, but must instead seek out a certified medical marijuana doctor that will supply a patient with medical marijuana in compliance with the law of the state.
- A patient may only purchase a limited amount of medical marijuana equal to a 30-day supply or less, and must do so at a designated state-monitored dispensary:
- The state of New York medical marijuana law does not allow for the cultivation of medical cannabis.
H2: Overview of recent changes to the legislation
On the 22nd of March, 2017, Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, approved Chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the Medical marijuana program in New York state. The condition is defined as “any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability, that has intolerable side effects, that has lasted for or is expected to last for at least three months, and other modes of therapy that has failed to treat or that cannot be treated by another therapy because it would be harmful.”
Later, in August, the medical marijuana program of New York state licenced five new companies for growing and distributing medical marijuana. In addition, the amount of non combustible products each organization was allowed to manufacture and distribute was increased.
The introduction of the new legislation allowed patients to consult with representatives from registered organizations (ROs), helping medical marijuana patients gain access to information about available medical marijuana and non combustible products more easily.
In October of the same year, hospitals and nursing homes were given permission by the state of New York to register as ‘caregivers’, giving facility-bound patients access to medical marijuana. The previous legislation greatly inhibited access to medical marijuana for those patients who found themselves without a caregiver or access to a medical marijuana delivery service. The new changes to the legislation ensured access to treatment for patients in facilities suffering from debilitating illnesses.
In June 2018, the state of New York Department of Health issued a regulatory amendment, adding ‘Opiod use’ to the list of approved qualifying conditions. The following month, the amendment was expanded to include ‘any condition for which an Opioid could be prescribed’ to be considered a qualifying condition for the medical marijuana treatment program.
For more information please visit: New York State Medical Marijuana Laws.