Becoming a patient in New York

Summary

  • Must be diagnosed with a qualifying condition
  • Must be under the continuing care of recommending health care practitioner
  • Must be registered with the Department of Health
  • Must pay a $50 application fee, which may be waived in cases of financial hardship
  • Must carry registry ID card at all times when cannabis is in patient’s possession
  • Must not consume or cultivate medical cannabis in a public place
  • Must not obtain or possess cannabis in excess of amounts specified by health care practitioner
  • Must not knowingly share, sell, trade or otherwise deliver medical cannabis to anyone who is not a registered patient

What's Legal

Much of what will be legal for patients under the NY law will be determined through the regulatory process. Qualified patients and their designated caregivers who are enrolled in the program may possess up to a 30-day supply of medicine. However; the law does not specify what constitutes a 30-day supply. Instead, the patient's physician will make a determination on the amount of medicine the patient needs for a 30-day supply based upon recommendations provided through by the Commissioner the regulations.  Patients may also be limited in the form of medical cannabis that they can acquire and use based on their physician's determination; however, physicians are not required to specify the form.

Eligible conditions

Please note: The following conditions are only eligible if they produce one or more of the listed symptoms below.

  • Conditions
    • Cancer
    • Positive Status for HIV or AIDS
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Spinal Cord Injuries
    • Epilepsy
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    • Neuropathy
    • Huntington’s Disease
    • Any other medical condition added by the Commissioner
  • Symptoms
    • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
    • Severe or Chronic Pain
    • Severe Nausea
    • Severe or Persistent Muscle Spasms
    • Any other medical symptom added by the Commissioner

Application process

The state Department of Health is tasked with regulating medical cannabis in New York, including issuance of Patient and Caregiver Registry ID Cards, registration of dispensaries and reporting by health care practitioners.  Due to the recent passage of the measure, New York’s program is still under development. This section will be updated with current links once the DOH has its program up and running. Forms will most likely be located here: http://www.health.ny.gov/forms/

Doctor

Initially, only physicians will be eligible to make written certifications for medical marijuana under New York, but the Commissioner has the authority to expand the program to nurse practitioners. Physicians must: (I) be licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York; (2) be trained or have expertise to treat the an eligible condition; (3) complete a 2-4 hour training course approved by the Commissioner; and (4) register with the Department.

Physicians in New York must include dosage and 30-day supply information in their written certification. Physician written certifications are valid for one-year, except there is no expiration date for a written certification when the physician has determined that the patient has a terminal condition and is expected to die in less than 12 months.

Access/Caregivers

Patients and their designated caregivers can only access medicine by purchasing it from a dispensary location of registered organization. The Department can license up to 5 registered organizations in the state, and each organization can have up to 4 dispensary locations, for a maximum total of 20 dispensaries. Patients and their caregivers may only purchase a 30-day supply's worth of medicine. Dispensaries will keep track of how much medicine a patient or their caregiver has purchased to make sure they do not purchase or possess more than the state limit.

Consumption

Patients may not consume their medicine in a "public place." The definition for "public place" will be determined by the Commissioner through rulemaking.

Age Limits

The law allows patients of any age to be enrolled in the program; however, a patient under the age of 18 must have their application filled out by their parent or legal guardian, and a parent or legal guardian must be agree to serve as the minor-patient's designated caregiver.

Confidentiality

The law requires that the patient registry must be kept confidential. However, the Department can share patient or caregiver registry information with law enforcement is their is a violation or suspected violation of the rules of the program by the patient or caregiver in question.

Housing

Being a registered patient is considered a disability for housing discrimination purposes, which means that landlords may not discriminate against patients based upon their participation in the program.

Employment

Similarly, being a registered patient is considered a disability for employment discrimination purposes, which means that employers may not discriminate against patients based upon their participation in the program.

Insurance

Insurance is not required to pay for medical marijuana therapy in New York.

Out of State patients

Out of state patients are not given any legal protections under New York law.

For More information

New York State Medical Marijuana Program