How To Qualify for Medical Marijuana in New York
In July of 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York Legislature enacted the Compassionate Care Act, which gave New Yorkers with qualifying medical conditions and a doctor’s prescription limited access to marijuana products. We go into detail about the Medical Marijuana laws in New York and show you if and how to qualify for medical marijuana in New York.
The New York Medical Marijuana Program
The New York Medical Marijuana Program is only available to New York residents with severe medical conditions. Medical marijuana products are distributed by State approved dispensaries only. If you’re interested in using medical marijuana to treat a medical condition, discuss it with your doctor to see if a jay a day will keep the doctor away.
After getting your physician’s approval to receive marijuana for medical use, It’s worth noting that your doctor will also need to be registered with the Department of Health and that doctor will need to have been the one treating you for your medical condition.
New York patients must still register online at the Department of Health’s online Patient Registration System to obtain a registry identification card for access to medical marijuana products at a local dispensary.
What conditions qualify for the Medical Marijuana Program in New York?
If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll qualify for New York’s Medical Marijuana program here’s a list from the NY compassionate care acts web site, of the medical conditions that qualify:
- HIV Positive
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to nervous tissue and spinal cord
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington’s disease
Will additional conditions be added to the list of qualifying conditions?
Yes, the Commissioner of Health may add new conditions to the list. In fact, the Department of Health has been analyzing many scientific studies on Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rheumatoid arthritis. If the Commissioner sees merit in prescribing medical marijuana to patients with these conditions, he will quickly add to the list of currently covered conditions.
Where to find a Medical Marijuana Doctor in NY?
You’ll need to find a doctor that’s already completed the 4 and a half hour course educating practitioners on medical marijuana use. New York has over 600 registered physician’s now, so you can find a doctor not too far from where you’re located anywhere in New York. If your doctor does not approve your reason for needing medical marijuana you won’t be able to get a registry identification card.
Where are the legal cannabis dispensaries in New York?
Columbia Care opened one of the first marijuana dispensaries in the state in the East Village of Manhattan. There’s a list of dispensaries open now within the boroughs and even several upstate.
What does my medical card get me at a New York dispensary?
The medical marijuana laws in NY are relatively strict. The flower form of marijuana is not available for smoking because of the dangers associated with smoking. Patients will have to use extracts, tinctures, oils, and edibles if they want to get medicated, even though smoking as a method of consumption has found to have more immediate relief, added benefits, and less harmful side effects than alternatives like edibles.
Patients will not be allowed to purchase or possess more than a 30 day supply of medical marijuana. After receiving medical marijuana, it must be kept in its original packaging otherwise it may be confused for illegal marijuana.
Where can you smoke?
Public smoking of even medical marijuana remains illegal in the State of New York. You may consume marijuana in your home or on private property that you have permission to smoke on.
Are patients and caregivers shielded from discrimination?
Fortunately, within the provisions it was declared that patients, caregivers, practitioners, or employees “shall not be denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to, they shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege.” So in New York, you should be able to rest easy using your medicine without getting fired or arrested.
What is the future of the Medical Marijuana Program in New York?
While some believe the way the program is currently being run is very careful and potentially valuable to patient treatment, others think the program is not doing enough for patients. There are medical conditions that patients are waiting for the DOH to add to the list of qualifying conditions.
Even patients with qualifying conditions may not be getting the best available medicine to them because smoking marijuana provides added benefits that aren’t present in any of the forms currently available to New York patients. More research needs to be done on the benefits of inhaling marijuana before the DOH will add raw marijuana to the list of marijuana products available in NY.