Marijuana Laws in New York State - They're Changing!
Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 was a good day for Adult-Use cannabis in New York. Governor Kathy Hochul followed through on her promise to expedite sales of legal marijuana in New York, and followed the protocol of nominating candidates for the top positions with the newly-established Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), and Cannabis Control Board (CCB).
Tremaine Wright, a former New York assemblywoman representing the 56th District, will chair the CCB. Former policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance Christopher Alexander will serve as executive director of the OCM. Both Black Americans, these appointments reinforce a prime goal of MRTA — to promote participation in the new industry for individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, and create social and economic equity in New York’s legal cannabis industry.
Count Down to Legal Weed in New York
Though four more members will be named to the CCB, they will not need senate approval. The official countdown to legal marijuana began with the chief appointments of Wright and Alexander. The CCB now has six months to establish the necessary cannabis regulatory framework for legal weed, which will be overseen by the OCM, under the umbrella of New York’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Senate Bill S845A, will then enact MRTA, repealing the current medical cannabis program, and replacing it with Article 3.
These appointments were timely, indeed, because just a few hours later came the destruction and tragedies of Hurricane Ida, the devastating aftermath of which would undoubtedly have slowed the advancement of many initiatives, legal cannabis included.
Weed Warrants a Street Ticket
Three years ago, the NYPD announced a policy change to make smoking cannabis on the street a ticket-able offense (for most). This was an interesting move — signaling a shift in law enforcement’s perspective on cannabis — especially considering the fact that smoking was not yet an accepted method of delivery for certified (medical) patients, nor was flower available for purchase in medical dispensaries.
Directly following the March, 2021 signing by former Governor Cuomo of the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), the NYPD made another move, releasing a memo giving pot smokers 21+ the same rights as tobacco smokers, with regard to where they can legally light up.
Medical Marijuana Patients in New York
As a stop-gap for certified medical patients, Senate Bill A1412, (now in committee), which recently passed both houses, will change the wording of the medical marijuana law in New York, striking the prohibition of smoking from verbiage in the Compassionate Care Act.
Becoming a Medical Marijuana Patient in New York is Easy
Currently, in New York, adults 21+ can legally possess up to three ounces of cannabis. But how do you get it?!
You can still become a Certified Medical Marijuana patient in New York. To see if you qualify, check New York's expanded list of qualifying conditions
- Consult with a New York-licensed physician or nurse in person or through safe, secure telehealth with HelloMD.
- Receive your New York Medical Marijuana Program Certification Form. Create an online account and sign up for your New York Medical Marijuana Registry ID Card. You’ll need to input info from your Certification, as well as New York residency info, and upload a valid New York State-issued ID.
- You may register up to five caregivers in the state of New York, (a caregiver is also mandatory if the patient is under 18).
- Print your temporary New York medical marijuana card and look for your permanent card in the mail.
- Visit a New York (Medical Marijuana Dispensary) to purchase your legal, medical weed. Call ahead for hours, policies, and acceptable forms of payment.
Remember, in New York, DO NOT use marijuana in a car (even parked!) while driving in subways or on buses at places of employment within 100 feet of schools or childcare centers any place where cigarette smoking is prohibited.
Need Your Medical Marijuana Card?
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