As of May 11, 2017, the medical cannabis program in New York only had 1,017 registered practitioners and 18,911 patients. That’s in a state that counted 19.8 million people in 2015. Keep those numbers in mind, and then take a quick glance any “weed map” of the state. You’ll notice dispensaries are as few and far between as patients and doctors themselves. Of course, this is exactly the problem. Most people interested in medical weed have no idea where to buy medical marijuana in New York.
New York legalized medical cannabis in 2015. But since then, the state’s tight restrictions on the program have led to a rocky and disappointing start. For people who want to know what’s the deal with medical weed in New York, the answer is simply, not much.
Doctors have been slow to register. Patients are having a hard time qualifying for the few conditions New York allows. As a result, legal cannabis businesses are still in the red. They’re struggling to move their product and prices are higher than most patients can afford.
The bottom line is this: you could count all the medical marijuana dispensaries in New York using your fingers and toes (with some toes left over).
So the question remains for patients: where to buy medical marijuana in New York? Below is a list of every legal weed dispensary in the state.
Columbia Care: The First Medical Cannabis Dispensary In New York
Columbia Care is the first answer to the question of where to buy medical marijuana in New York. They’re a healthcare company based in NYC, and they specialize in medical cannabis.
Columbia Care opened its doors on January 7, 2016. But so far, business has been slow, even in bustling Union Square in Manhattan. Located at 212 E. 14th Street, near 3rd Avenue, Columbia Care is a hotbed for tourist activity.
But of course, tourists can’t get in on the fun. The facility is very strictly regulated in accordance with the state’s tight controls. Anyone trying to get a prescription will have to clear a bunch of red tape and paperwork. If, that is, they even have one of the handfuls of qualifying conditions.
In January, Columbia Care had four pharmacists on staff. They hope to eventually hire up to 20, but so far the demand just isn’t there.
And neither is product selection. Because the state prohibits patients from smoking medical marijuana, the dispensary is very limited in what it can sell.
The first group of patients to obtain prescriptions from Columbia Care had just one option. They had to purchase an eyedropper of cannabis tincture to drop under their tongue.
Depending on the concentration of the tincture, the price of one bottle ranged anywhere from $100 to $300. Most patients have trouble affording such a high cost.
Where To Buy Medical Marijuana In New York City
Aside from Columbia Care, you have two other options for buying medical marijuana in the City.
First, if you live in Queens, your dispensary of choice — and it’s your only choice in the neighborhood — is Vireo Health. It’s located at 89-55 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11373.
Otherwise, you could check out the upstart Bloomfield Industries. Columbia and Vireo are franchises with other locations throughout the state. (But not too many!) Bloomfield has offices in NYC and Buffalo. They’re located a 2001 Marcus Ave, New Hyde Park, NY 11042.
Where To Buy Medical Marijuana In New York If You Live Near A Major City
Take a look at a map of legal medical marijuana dispensaries in New York, and you’ll see immediately that you don’t have too many options. Most of the dispensaries are in and around major urban areas. Since this is where most registered practitioners operate, this makes sense.
Albany and Buffalo both have a pair of dispensaries to boast about. In the Queen City (that’s Buffalo), neither of the dispensaries are downtown. In fact, both of them are on the outskirts of the city in the northern suburbs.
Your first choice is PharmaCann. You’ll find the dispensary just north of Buffalo in the city of Amherst. The address is 25 Northpointe Parkway, Amherst, NY 14228.
On the other hand, you could head a little further out of town to the Bloomfield Industry’s dispensary at 52 South Union Road in Williamsville, NY 14221.
Additionally, Albany has two dispensaries, both located in the downtown center. The first is another branch of PharmaCann, located at 10 Executive Park Dr. The second, another state-wide franchise called Etain, which you’ll find at 402 North Pearl Street.
If You Live In Rural Upstate, Your Options Are Limited
But what about the folks who live away from the major cities in rural, upstate New York? For them, the question of where to buy medical marijuana in New York is the most difficult to answer.
Most likely, rural residents are facing a long drive to the nearest major city to link up with a dispensary. Expanded service is seriously needed, and some companies like NuggMD are filling the gap. If this is the case for you, Syracuse and Rochester are probably your best bet. Both of these cities have a couple of familiar dispensaries.
First, in Syracuse, there’s a Bloomfield, a PharmaCann, and Etain. In Rochester, there’s a division of Columbia Care, New York’s first dispensary.
For those who live north in the Adirondack region, there’s another Columbia Care in the town of Plattsburg. For those in the southern parts of the state, both Binghamton and Kingston have a single dispensary. In Binghamton, there’s another Etain.
New York Needs More Dispensaries
At the moment, where to buy medical marijuana in New York is too inaccessible for patients who demand safe, affordable medicine. And the selection is also seriously inadequate. Due to tight controls written into the legal marijuana law, there are only a handful of companies that are allowed to dispense medical marijuana.