New York

Marijuana Laws

What you need to know as a marijuana patient

New York’s Medical Marijuana Program

In July 2014, the Compassionate Care Act legalized marijuana for medicinal use in New York, allowing for patients and caregivers alike to possess and acquire medical marijuana products from licensed dispensaries state-wide. This marked the official creation of New York’s Medical Marijuana Program, allowing every patient to acquire medical cannabis treatment through their state-mandated medical marijuana card.

In November 2017, in order to celebrate Veteran’s Day,  state Governor Andrew Cuomo added Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as an eligible condition for marijuana treatment. In that same year, the New York Department of Health also introduced chronic pain among its qualifying condition list, making 2017 a year of great progress for medical marijuana in New York. 

Come 2019, New York was the most likely candidate to make history by legalizing recreational marijuana through sole legislative measures, rather than voter-approved motions. Although the state lawmakers were unable to come to a consensus, they did agree upon the expansion of a 1977 state law, decriminalizing cannabis in the process. The bill was signed by Governor Cuomo on July 29th, going into effect one month later.

On March 31st, 2021, New York became the 16th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, making it one of the hallmark states in 2021’s ongoing wave of US-wide marijuana legalization. 

Following in the footsteps of Illinois and Vermont, New York is the third state to pass a marijuana legalization bill through Senate consensus. 

Program Approval Date

July 2014

Patient ID Card Validity

1 year

Application Fee

$50*

Certification Renewal

Annually*

* The MMP-issued ID Card and the doctor’s recommendation, are only valid for 1 year.

Following that, we recommend you book a re-evaluation with our licensed doctors. 

Being a Responsible MMJ Patient in NY

Even with the many freedoms brought on by the recreational legalization act, being the proud owner of an NY medical marijuana card does not come without its responsibilities. While your patients status does have its benefits, you ought to be aware of the following legal penalties and regulations when undergoing your medical marijuana treatment:

  • New York residents are allowed up to 3 ounces of cannabis flower for personal possession, as per state regulation. Exceptions are possible on a case-by-case scenario, based on your marijuana specialist’s medical recommendation. 

  • You may purchase your medical marijuana products ONLY from a state-approved dispensary. Personal sales are highly prohibited by the New York Department of Health and you should NOT engage with them in any way, shape, or form.

  • Taking effect in 2022, residents will be given the right to grow up to 6 flowering cannabis plants at a given time (or 12 per household) – 3 mature-stage plants and 3 immature-stage plants. Until then, the current cultivation-related penalties and regulations remain in place. These are listed in their dedicated section below. 

  • If your treatment includes hashish-based products OR other products made from any type of cannabis concentrate, take note of the fact that the federal Schedule I Drug regulations are the same for marijuana concentrates as for marijuana flower. The legal possession limit for hash and concentrates is 24 grams

  • Possession and/or distribution of marijuana paraphernalia (such as bongs, tobacco blunts, rolling paper) is still a punishable violation in the state of NY, regardless of adult-use legalization. 

    Taking all of these considerations into mind, below we have listed the five main types of marijuana-related offenses you can be held accountable for in the state of New York:

    Possession

    New York Marijuana Laws

    With 2021’s legalization bill, the present marijuana possession law no longer considers the smell of marijuana alone as a valid reason for on-person searches by law enforcement. The public use of cannabis is still eligible for legal repercussions, however.

    Possession offenses past the allowed legal limit of 3 ounces are punished as follows in the state of NY: 

    • Being found in possession of anywhere between 3 to 8 ounces of marijuana is treated as a class A misdemeanor that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 1 year, along with a maximum legal fine of $1,000. 
    • Being found in possession of anywhere between 8 to 16 ounces of marijuana is treated as a class E felony, punishable with a prison sentence of up to 4 years, along with a maximum legal fine of $5,000.
    • Being found in possession of anywhere between 16 ounces and 10 pounds of marijuana is treated as a class D felony, punishable with a prison sentence of up to 7 years, along with a maximum legal fine of $5,000.
    • Being found in possession of any quantity exceeding 10 pounds of marijuana is treated as a class C felony, punishable with a prison sentence of up to 15  years, along with a maximum legal fine of $15,000.
    • Public use of cannabis results in a violation charge alongside a $200 legal fine. 
    Possession 
    Quantity Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
    3 — 8 oz Misdemeanor  1 year $1,000
    8 — 16 oz Felony 4 years $5,000
    16 oz — 10 lbs Felony 7 years $5,000
    >10 lbs Felony 15 years $15,000
    Public use of cannabis Civil Violation N/A $200

    Sale, Distribution & Trafficking

    New York Marijuana Laws

    The New York marijuana laws and regulations apply as follows in the cases of sale, distribution, and trafficking:

     Sale and Distribution:

    • If no transaction took place between the distributor and the recipient, the exchange of up to 3 ounces of marijuana carries no legal penalty, no imprisonment period, and no legal fine whatsoever. 
    • Selling 25 grams (or less) of marijuana is treated as a class A misdemeanor that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 1 year and a maximum legal fine of $1,000.
    • Selling anywhere between 25 grams to 4 ounces of marijuana is treated as a class E felony that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 4 years and a maximum legal fine of $5,000.
    • Selling anywhere between 4 to 16 ounces of marijuana is treated as a class D felony that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 7 years and a maximum legal fine of $5,000.
    • Selling any quantity exceeding 16 ounces of marijuana is treated as a class C felony that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a maximum legal fine of $15,000.
    • Selling any quantity of marijuana to a minor who is under 18 years of age is treated as a class D felony that is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 7 years, as well as a maximum legal fine of $5,000.
    • The use of a child to assist in the sale of marijuana is treated as a class E felony that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 4 years and a maximum legal fine of $5,000. Hiding marijuana on the child in question and/or instructing the child to distribute for the seller also qualifies for this offense. 

    Trafficking:

    • Acting as the CEO of an organization that sells $75,000 worth of marijuana during a fiscal year.
    • Collecting $75,000 or more from marijuana-related sales over a 6-month period. 
    • Possessing with the intent to sell and/or distribute $75,000 worth of marijuana over a 6-month period. 
    • Should any of the above-listed conditions be satisfied, then the offender may be listed as a major trafficker by New York State regulation. This is treated as a class A-I felony in NY, punishable with a prison sentence ranging between 15 to 25 years, as well as a maximum legal fine of $100,000.
    Sale and Distribution
    Quantity / Offense Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
    Compensation-free Distribution of up to 3oz N/A N/A N/A
    <25g Misdemeanor 1 year $1,000
    25g — 4oz Felony 4 years $5,000
    4 — 16oz Felony 7 years $5,000
    >16oz Felony 15 years $15,000
    Any quantity to a child Felony 7 years $5,000
    Making a child assist in the selling/distribution of marijuana Felony 4 years $5,000
    Trafficking
    Leading an organization that earns >$75,000 worth of profits from the sale of marijuana during 1 year A-I Felony 15 — 25 years $100,000
    Collecting >$75,000 worth of profits from the sale of marijuana over 6 months A-I Felony 15 — 25 years $100,000
    Possessing with the intent to sell >$75,000 worth of profits of marijuana over 6 months A-I Felony 15 — 25 years $100,000

    Cultivation

    New York Marijuana Laws

    As per the cultivation-related laws that will enter in effect in 2022, New York will incur the following penalties for unlawful cannabis cultivation:

    • Exceeding the 6-plant personal limit of cultivation (or 12 per household) will be treated as a class A misdemeanor that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 1 year and a maximum legal fine of $1,000.
    • Cultivating an excess of the state-allowed limit of 3 ounces will be treated in line with the possession penalties listed above, based on the cultivated quantity.
    Cultivation
    Quantity Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
    Any beyond 6 per person/12 per household Misdemeanor 1 year $1,000
    Special Consideration
    Cultivating past the state-allowed 3oz possession limit will incur the above-listed possession penalties, based on cultivated quantity.

    Hashish & Cannabis Concentrates

    New York Marijuana Laws

    Owing to its state-specific marijuana laws, New York uses “Tetrahydrocannabinols” when referring strictly to synthetic cannabinoids, and not marijuana concentrates. Because of this, the NY marijuana decriminalization is not applied to forms of concentrated cannabis, and consequently, different penalties apply when regarding concentrated cannabis as opposed to plant-form marijuana:

     

    • Being found in possession of any amount of concentrated cannabis up to 1/4th of an ounce will be treated as a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 1 year,  and a maximum legal fine of $1,000.
    • Being found in possession of anywhere between 1/4th of an ounce and 1 ounce of concentrated cannabis will be treated as a class D felony, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 7 years,  and a maximum legal fine of $5,000.
    • Being found in possession of more than 1 ounce of concentrated cannabis will be treated as a class C felony, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 15 years,  and a maximum legal fine of $15,000.
    • Selling concentrated cannabis in any amount is treated as a class C felony, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 15 years,  and a maximum legal fine of $15,000.
    • Selling concentrated cannabis in any amount in 1000 feet proximity of school grounds, on a school bus, or near any educational facility of any kind is treated as a class B felony, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 25 years,  and a maximum legal fine of $30,000.
    • The sale of concentrated cannabis in any amount by an adult that is 21 years old (or older), to a minor who is 17 years old (or younger) is treated as a class B felony, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 25 years,  and a maximum legal fine of $30,000.
    • If a vehicle is found to contain any amount of a controlled substance all of its occupants are exposed to the presumption of possession. This does not apply if the substance is found on the person of a single passenger and if the substance is deliberately hidden from the view of other passengers. 
    • Marijuana, as well as concentrated cannabis, found in open view within a room that is not considered part of public property, creates the presumption of possession for every person in proximity of the marijuana/concentrated cannabis at the time it was found. 

     

    Concentrated Cannabis

    Quantity

    Penalty

    Jail Time

    Legal Fine

    Possession

    <1/4th oz

    Misdemeanor

    1 year

    $1,000

    <1/4th oz — 1 oz

    Felony

    7 years

    $5,000

    >1 oz

    Felony

    15 years

    $15,000

    Sale

    Any

    Felony

    15 years

    $15,000

    Any within 1000 ft of school grounds

    Felony

    25 years

    $30,000

    Any by an adult to a minor

    Felony

    25 years

    $30,000

    Special Considerations

    Concentrated cannabis found within a vehicle exposes all passengers to the presumption of possession.

    Concentrated cannabis found within a non-public property room exposes everyone around the proximity of the drug to the presumption of possession. 

    Paraphernalia

    New York Marijuana Laws

    Unlawful and unnecessary possession and/or distribution of marijuana paraphernalia is still punishable by the law in New York, regardless of the adult use-legalization bill:

    • Being found in possession of paraphernalia that is used to measure and/or weigh marijuana is treated as a class A misdemeanor that is punishable with a prison sentence of up to 1 year.
    • Any and all further convictions for the possession or sale of marijuana paraphernalia will be treated as class D felonies, punishable with a prison sentence of up to 7 years, as well as a maximum legal fine of $5,000.
    Paraphernalia 
    Offense Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
    Possession of Paraphernalia used for scaling/measuring Misdemeanor 1 year N/A
    Subsequent convictions for paraphernalia possession/sale  Felony 7 years $5,000

    FAQ

    New York Marijuana Laws

    Questions about NY Laws and Regulations

    While the penalties for each medical marijuana law are highly important to take note of, we know that state regulations do not always provide all the answers.

    Below you can find a list of questions that you might have regarding the current state of medical marijuana in New York:

    Is recreational weed legal in New York?

    Yes. As of the 31st March, 2021, New York has officially legalized adult-use marijuana at a state-wide level, however, it may still be a while before residents will be able to buy marijuana legally. 

    Are Edibles Legal in NYS?

    As with cannabis flower, edible cannabis products are to be implemented at a state-wide level during the expansion of the state’s dispensary market during the course of this year. 

    When will marijuana flower be legal in NY?

    With the legalization bill, predictive analysis of New York’s budding marijuana market highlights that smokable marijuana flower could be purchasable from a marijuana dispensary within the year, depending on its implementation from dispensary to dispensary. 

    You can read more about the legislature surrounding marijuana flower on the East Coast here.

    Is CBD legal in New York?

    Yes. Cannabinoid products such as CBD oil are fully legal in NY, and they are one of the main forms of marijuana medication widely available for personal use. 

    Patients who get a medical marijuana recommendation from their doctor through QuickMedCards receive $30 worth of free cannabis. Courtesy of InstacraftCBD.com — the best quality pure CBD oil for the lowest prices.

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