Is Weed Legal in New York City? Here's How To Get It
Ever wonder if weed is legal in New York City? Here’s everything you need to know about New York City’s marijuana laws and other places to find cannabis around New York City in 2020.
Is weed legal in New York City?
Marijuana and its synthetic "equivalents" (like Spice or K2) are considered Schedule I hallucinogenic substances under New York Public Health Law. This means that in the eyes of the law, cannabis is just as dangerous as heroin and meth. That being said, weed is still illegal for recreational uses in New York City.
However, New York City has established a medical marijuana program and has decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. There are still a few penalties associated with both possession, cultivation, and sale. Here’s a quick breakdown of those penalties before we dive into New York City’s medical marijuana program.
- 28 g or less: Violation (no jail time) $50 fine
- More than 2 - 8 oz: Misdemeanor - 1 year in jail - $1,000 fine
- More than 8 oz - 1 lb: Felony - 4 years in jail - $5,000 fine
- Possession of less than 1/4 oz of concentrates: Misdemeanor - 1 year in jail - $1,000 fine
- Possession of 1/4 - less than 1 oz of concentrates: Felony - 7 years in jail - $5,000 fine
- 2 g or less without profit or 1 joint: Misdemeanor - 3 months in jail - $500 fine
- 25 g or less: Misdemeanor - 1 year in jail - $1,000 fine
- More than 25 g - 4 oz: Felony - 4 years in jail - $5,000 fine
- Selling concentrated cannabis: Felony - 15 years in jail - $15,000 fine
- Any amount: Felony - 15 years in prison minimum to 25 years max - $100,000 fine
- Any amount: Misdemeanor - 1 year in jail - $1,000 fine
- Smoking in public view: Violation - no jail time - $200 fine
- Possession or sale of scales or balances for the purpose of weighing or measuring marijuana: Misdemeanor - 1 year in jail - No fine
- Subsequent offenses: Automatic Felony - 7 years in jail - $5,000 fine
- Property can be seized if you are convicted of a felony.
- Mandatory driver's license suspension of 6 months for youthful offenders.
- Cultivating marijuana is also possessing marijuana under current case law. You will incur charges for both possession and cultivation.
Medical Marijuana in New York City
While recreational cannabis isn’t a viable option in New York City, you might qualify for NYC’s medical marijuana program.
Medical cannabis was legalized in New York City in 2014, though dispensaries didn’t start popping up until 2016. There are currently 5 medical dispensaries in New York City, and none of them sell cannabis flowers per NYC’s medical cannabis laws that only allow for the sale of tinctures, vapes, and pills.
Like many medical marijuana programs around the US, New York City’s medical program also requires that you meet a few qualifying conditions to get a medical card and buy cannabis products. Some of those qualifying conditions include:
- Acute pain management
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Chronic pain
- Huntington's Disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Parkinson's Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Opioid substitution
- Spinal cord damage
Aside from this list, New York State recently opened the program to people with opioid addictions and people with PTSD. However, it does not extend to people with anxiety or depression, which are the go-to qualifying symptoms in many other states.
If you have a qualifying condition, you’ll need to collect your medical records to prove your condition is treatment-resistant with traditional options. Your practitioner must also justify the medical use of marijuana for your condition, after which they’ll give you your corresponding certification. From there, you just meet with a doctor and they’ll help you get your medical card. To apply, you need $50 for the card and somewhere between $100-$300 for your doctor’s visit. Keep in mind though that many people who use medical marijuana in New York City claim that medical marijuana products are way more expensive than black market weed and cannabis purchased in surrounding legal states.
All in all, New York City has an established medical program, though it’s pretty limited. You can’t smoke actual cannabis flowers and you can’t possess more than a 30 day supply of cannabis-infused, non-smokable products. You are also not allowed to cultivate your own medical marijuana as you would be in other medical states like Colorado or California.
Weed Events & Delivery in New York
In light of the recent pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo still strongly supports and rallies for the legalization of marijuana in the state. He is a staunch supporter of the drug, particularly recognizing the benefits it affords individuals. Moreover, Cuomo acknowledges the wealth it could bring to the state, what with the increased demand it has from its citizens. Cuomo hopes to urge governors and senators alike to allow this push to happen not just in New York, but also in other states.
The state of New York first passed the legalization of medical marijuana in 2014, also signed by Governor Cuomo. Currently, the state is looking into allowing adult-use recreational marijuana. In light of this, cannabis activists are calling for assistance to individuals and communities who were victimized by the War on Drugs. It seems that Cuomo supports this advocacy and he is banking on governors and voters to implement polici es that would have similar effects. Cuomo’s decision to back up communities devastated by the War on Drugs is seen as a great step in light of the lack of action in most states with regards to unfair law-enforcement.
With such developments in marijuana-related legislation and will on the part of the state officials, New York’s cannabis market is thriving and is expected to grow in the coming years. If you want to get your New York medical marijuana card then you can start here and get approved today!
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