QUALIFYING PATIENTS IN NEW YORK
As the first step in applying for medical cannabis, you must obtain appropriate certification that you have been diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions listed below. This certifications must come from a physician of which you are under continuing care. It is possible that at the time of the consultation, the physician might not yet be registered with the Department to certify patients for cannabis use. In such a case, the physician can refer the patient to another doctor who is registered to certify patients for marijuana and who is also qualified to treat the patient's eligible condition.
After receiving a signed certification from the doctor, the patient needs to apply for a registry ID card, which may be done online. There is a $50 application fee, which may be waived if you can demonstrate financial hardship. You must carry your registry ID card at all times when in possession of cannabis.
If you are diagnosed with one of the following conditions, you may be eligible for physician certification as a patient in New York:
- HIV infection or AIDS,
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),
- Parkinson's disease,
- multiple sclerosis,
- spinal cord injury with spasticity,
- inflammatory bowel disease,
- Huntington's disease,
- post-traumatic stress disorder,
- chronic pain (as defined by 10 NYCRR §1004.2(a)(8)(xi)),
- pain that degrades health and functional capability as an alternative to opioid use or substance use disorder.
- The severe debilitating or life-threatening condition must also be accompanied by one or more of the following associated or complicating conditions: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms, PTSD or opioid use disorder
Becoming a Patient as a Minor:
If the patient is under the age of eighteen (18) or a person who is otherwise incapable of consenting to medical treatment, application for the registry ID card must be submitted by an appropriate person over twenty-one (21) years of age.
Benefits of Being a Patient:
As a patient, you will have an affirmative defense in court if you are arrested for cannabis possession provided you have your registry ID on your person at the time of your arrest. You will be legally protected from discriminatory action taken by your employer for your enrollment as a medical cannabis patient.
Becoming a Caregiver:
To become a caregiver, you must be designated by a patient before you can register with the department. Once you are in the system on behalf of a patient, you can register online. At the time the certified patient applies for a registry ID card, he or she may designate up to two caregivers to assist the patient in obtaining and administering medical marijuana. To become a caregiver, the individual:
- You must be at least 21 years old, unless special permission is obtained from the Department;
- You must be a resident of New York State and have a valid New York State issued driver's license or a New York State identification card;
- You must be someone other than the patent's certifying physician.
After the patient's application is approved, each caregiver must register with the Department to receive a registry ID card that the caregiver can then use to obtain medical marijuana on the patient's behalf. See this document (pdf) for detailed information about caregiver registration.
Like the patient, each caregiver must pay the $50 application fee unless he or she can demonstrate financial hardship to waive that fee.
The State of New York does not recognize Out-of-State patient registrations. For more information about traveling as a medical cannabis patient, check out our Travel Guide.
The state of New York does not allow the home cultivation of cannabis.
In 2019, New York passed Senate Bill S6579A which required automatic expungement for anyone who was convicted of possessing 2 ounces of cannabis or less. Assembly Bill 8420-A reduced the penalty for minor cannabis possession violations to a fine of $50, for up to one ounce. For offenses over one ounce but less than two ounces, Assembly bill 8420-A changed the penalty from a criminal misdemeanor to a non-criminal violation with the penalty of a $200 fine. Refer to the Attorney General's expungement guide for more information.
Medical cannabis patients can find additional resources here
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