The state of New York legalized medical marijuana in 2014. The program now boasts 3,455 practitioners and more than 150,000 patients, making it one of the biggest medical marijuana programs in the country. In April of 2021, the state also moved to legalize recreational cannabis, but retail sales likely will not begin until early 2023. For now, only medical marijuana cardholders can legally purchase cannabis in New York.
If you live in New York and are curious about the therapeutic benefits of utilizing cannabis to treat a chronic health condition, it may be time to discuss your options with a doctor. New York has some of the most stringent requirements governing eligibility for medical marijuana and knowing where to start may be a little confusing, so we wanted to walk through the steps it will take to receive a New York State Medical Marijuana Card.
Quick Guide to New York MMJ
There are a few steps you will need to follow to obtain your New York medical marijuana card:
- Check Your Eligibility: To get a medical cannabis card, New Yorkers will need to be diagnosed with one of the approved qualifying conditions listed below.
- Contact a Physician: You can choose to visit a doctor in person by checking the New York State list of certified doctors. If you prefer or require the convenience of seeing a doctor from the comfort of your home, a telemedicine appointment through Heally may be the best option for you. Through Heally’s secure, online, HIPAA-compliant platform, you can connect with a certified doctor from the state of New York to discuss medical cannabis as an option. If the doctor determines you are not an acceptable candidate to utilize cannabis through the Heally platform, your visit will be free of charge.
- Complete Your Application and Get Your Card: You will need your certificate from the doctor before you can register and submit your application. If this is done out of order, you may create a duplicate account, which could delay the process.
How to Get a New York Medical Marijuana Card in Three Steps
To obtain a New York medical marijuana card, you must be a New York resident and register for the program. Patients will be required to provide proof of their identity and residency during the application process. Click here for additional information about how to get a medical cannabis card in New York, including required documentation.
Check Your Eligibility
The State of New York has placed certain restrictions on conditions that qualify for medical marijuana to be used as a possible treatment option. You may be eligible for a New York medical marijuana card if you have been diagnosed with one or more of the following severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia/Wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
- 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
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Opioid use disorder
Get a Certification from a Physician
To get a medical marijuana card in New York you need to meet with a physician and receive a recommendation for medical marijuana as a treatment for your condition. You can do this online from your home by completing your Heally login and filling out the HIPAA-secure intake form.
Choose a time to meet & discuss your health with a doctor. If they determine that cannabis could be a beneficial treatment, you will be granted a medical marijuana use certificate. Your certificate is instantly accessible and is stored in your Heally patient portal.
Complete Your Application
Once you receive your certificate for a New York medical marijuana card in your patient portal, you must register with the state of New York. Instructions are included with your certificate. You can also find step-by-step instructions on how to create a My.NY.gov account here.
When you register, patients can register up to two caregivers. These caregivers must then also report with the state using the same application process to be granted access. Once a patient and/or caregiver’s registration is approved, the Department will issue a temporary registry identification card through the My.NY.gov account, which may be used in conjunction with government-issued photo identification to purchase approved medical marijuana products. The patient/caregiver will receive their permanent registry identification card (ID card) in the mail.
Typically, the Compassionate Care Act requires a $50 application fee; however, this fee is currently being waived for all patients and their designated caregivers. Registrations expire when the certification that was issued by the practitioner expires. A New York state medical cannabis card is valid for one year, and renewed annually. Patients and caregivers must re-register each time a new certification number is issued.
Purchasing Medical Marijuana in New York State
While you wait for your state-issued ID card, you may purchase CBD. When you (or your caregiver) receive your medical marijuana card and are ready to purchase cannabis, be sure to bring your registry ID card, certification, and ID.
Choosing the right products depends on your desired effects, but thankfully, the Heally blog has many articles discussing products and strains that may help you with your specific needs. If you are unsure about your product options, check out this guide on products allowed in New York State.