If you live in New York, congratulations! Medical cannabis is coming your way. Here’s what you need to do to get your MMJ card when dispensaries open in January 2016.
Step 1: Make sure your symptoms qualify you for cannabis in New York
Cancer patients who have wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe or persistent muscle spasms will qualify for legal cannabis in New York.
People with HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage causing spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, or Huntington’s disease also qualify.
Step 2: Get a certification from your doctor
Your certification must come from an MD who is currently treating you and who has completed the required training program with New York’s medical marijuana program. You have one year from the date you are certified to apply for a state registry identification card. If your doctor isn’t familiar with the program, you can pass on some helpful information from our friends at Compassionate Care New York about how they may register with the state.
Step 3: Fill out an application online for your patient certification card and pay the $50 fee each year
You’ll create a NY.gov account and submit these items to the Department of Health along with your photograph, proof of NY residency and doctor’s certification.
Step 4: Appoint up to two people to pick up your cannabis on your behalf
These people are called caregivers and must be over 21 and must go through the same application process as the patient.
Step 5: Wait
Expect it to take about 21 days for your patient certification card to arrive in the mail.
Step 6: Choose your product
Cancer patients in New York will have access to cannabis that has been processed into capsules, such as liquid or oil extracts to use in vaporizers, or as liquids or oils to take in the mouth. Smoking marijuana is not allowed and topicals or edible products like cookies, brownies, and drinks are not yet approved by New York’s Health Commissioner.
Step 7: Purchase up to one-month’s supply at a time
You may possess a 30-day supply of your cannabis at a time and you can get a refill from the one of the dispensaries located across the state seven days before the end of that period.
Step 8: Consume your product in private and keep your MMJ card on you
Also remember that federal law prohibits cannabis from crossing state lines.
Step 9: Know your rights
People who are taking medical marijuana (and people working in the industry) are protected from prosecution and discrimination under New York’s medical marijuana law.
For more information, check out New York’s official Medical Marijuana Program Regulations here.