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NYC: 420 Unfriendly?

A history of medical marijuana in New York

New York has never really been a 420 (marijuana) friendly state.

According to NYPD records released last year, 557 people were arrested in weed related incidents, for every 100,000 people in New York. This statistic means you are more likely to get arrested for marijuana in New York than any other state in the country.

Despite this fact, we have a medical marijuana program that is growing everyday. Some politicians, including gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, have indicated that legalization could be on the horizon. In this article we will discuss the laws that made the program possible and how to abide by them once you are a registered patient.

Compassionate Care Act

In 2014, the New York State Assembly passed Bill A6357, also known as the Compassionate Care Act, which paved the way for the medical marijuana program. Under the terms of this bill, five licenses were to be granted to cultivators responsible for supplying all the patients in the state. Each of these five licensees would also be given the right to operate up to four dispensaries.

Bill A6357 also decriminalized possession of marijuana, provided you had the proper written recommendation and accompanying medical Identification card. It is also important to remember that while it is decriminalized, you can still get in trouble if you don't adhere to the rules of the program.

What are New York's medical marijuana laws?

One of the most important things to remember as a new patient is that you can only use approved products, for which you have a prescription! New York is different than any other state with a medical program because you can't smoke marijuana in its flower form or consume edibles. The only acceptable forms of medical marijuana here are liquids, inhalers, vape carts or capsules.

Another big difference is that you cant cultivate your own marijuana. Products sold in New York can only come from one of the five companies allowed to produce them in the state.

You must carry your recommendation and identification card with you whenever you are in possession of your medicine and no more than a thirty day supply at a time.

Since it is already predetermined by your prescription, you can't just walk into a dispensary and browse for the medicine you want. Filling a prescription for medical marijuana is a lot like filling a prescription for any other medication at your local pharmacy.

Lastly, when traveling with your medication it must be kept in its original packaging.

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