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NY Marijuana Qualification

Who Qualifies for Medicinal Marijuana in New York

The State of New York passed a piece of marijuana legislation that effectively establishes a state-regulated medical marijuana program. While the measure itself narrows down the amount of qualifying diagnoses or conditions that would qualify a patient for the therapeutic use of cannabis within the state, New York’s program was drafted with careful and strict controls that will operate under very tight regulation and oversight.

Patients who are certified by a licensed healthcare practitioner to use medical marijuana in New York are required to register with the New York State Department of Health and must obtain a New York medical marijuana card, which will serve as a means of identification for the state-sanctioned patient registry.

The passage of this bill makes New York the 23rd state in the country, to set the foundation for a medical marijuana program. “The Compassionate Care Act” outlines a limited list of different debilitating medical conditions, for which marijuana is recommended to be medically beneficial. Before the bill’s passage, state lawmakers narrowed down the list of qualifying conditions that would allow a patient to qualify for the program. Legislators removed glaucoma – citing better pharmaceutical options – and narrowed “arthritis” specifically down to just “rheumatoid arthritis”.

* Please note: In order to become registered as a New York medical marijuana patient, you MUST first possess a document-driven condition that has been clearly outlined by the New York State Department of Health’s list of qualifying conditions (as per the Compassionate Care Act). The New York Health Commissioner must decide whether to add Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, PTSD, and rheumatoid arthritis within 18 months of the law’s effective date. The Health Commissioner may add or delete conditions to the list of qualifying ailments, at any time.

What Ailments Qualify For Medical Cannabis in New York

Patients in New York diagnosed with one of the following severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions, are afforded legal protection under New York’s medical marijuana law, as per Assembly Bill 6357:

  • Cancerpositive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)Amyotrophic  Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosisdamage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable SpasticityEpilepsyInflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), ulcerative colitisCrohn’s Disease, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathyneuropathies and Huntington’s Disease
  • Effective March 22, 2017 chronic pain has been approved by Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker – any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability, that has intolerable side effects, that has lasted for or is expected to last for at least three months, and other modes of therapy that has failed to treat or that cannot be treated by another therapy because it would be harmful.”
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is officially an approved qualifying medical condition – Gov. Cuomo signed Bill S.5629 (Savino)/A.7006 (Gottfied) on Veteran’s Day – November 11th, 2017 to allow emergency access and expedited certification for patients suffering from this condition.
  • As of June 2018, a regulatory amendment issued by the NY State Department of Health added opioid use as a qualifying condition.

Patients could also suffer from a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition or any of the following conditions where it is clinically associated with a complication of a condition under this paragraph or its treatment:

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How to Become A Medical Marijuana Patient in New York

  1. Patients must be a valid citizen residing in the State of New York and can readily provide an authentic form of New York State identification as a proof of residency. If in the event that a patient does not have a valid New York I.D. card, there is the potential that the state will accept a U.S. passport or another form of photo identification that features the patient’s proof of residency on it. Examples of possible forms of identification may include a bank statement or even a utility bill.
  2. Patients are required to obtain medical records or legitimate health documentation that outlines a specific medical diagnosis. A patient’s health records are an extremely important component of this process and should be transferred over to the recommending doctor’s office prior to a patient’s first visit. If in the event a patient wishes to learn how to request medical documentation, they can check out our detailed step-by-step process  — *Learn how to request your medical records
  3. Patients must also obtain a written certification from a certified healthcare practitioner that is licensed to practice and recommend medical marijuana in the State of New York. Patients must also take into consideration that establishing a long-standing and bona fide relationship with the recommending physician is an essential factor in determining if alternative medicine is the right treatment option — *Find a certified medical marijuana physician in New York
  4. Please note that in order for a patient to become fully approved into the state’s medical marijuana program, an application for a New York medical marijuana card must be filled out and submitted to the appropriate state authority. This is the final process before the actual obtaining of the card. Once a patient has received their New York medical marijuana card or temporary authorization, they are then able to find a legitimate safe-access source.

After receiving a medical marijuana recommendation, patients have to register with the DOH. Patients can designate up to two caregivers, who must also register with the DOH. Medical marijuana registrations expire when the recommendation expires.

Medical Marijuana Access in New York

Some medical marijuana patients will claim they have a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana, but marijuana prescriptions are in fact illegal. The federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. Therefore doctors are unable to prescribe marijuana to their patients, and medical marijuana patients cannot go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana. Instead, medical marijuana physicians will supply patients with a medical marijuana recommendation in compliance with state law.

Unlike other medical marijuana states, New York medical marijuana law does not allow for the cultivation of medical cannabis.  Patients may only purchase a limited amount, no more than a 30-day supply, of medical marijuana at one of the following state-monitored cannabis dispensaries: Bloomfield Industries IncColumbia Care NY LLCEtain, LLCPharmaCann LLCVireo Health of New York LLC (formerly Empire State Health Solutions).

In August 2017, the NY state medical marijuana program was expanded to license five new companies to grow and distribute medical marijuana. It also introduced new legislation that would make it easier for medical marijuana patients to get more information about products by allowing them to consult with representatives from registered organizations (ROs) about available non-smokable products. This legislation,k  which would also increase the amount of non-smokable products these organizations were allowed to distribute and manufacture, was passed and will go into effect December 2017.

In October 2017, the state of NY made it possible for facilities like hospitals and nursing homes to register as “caregivers” in order to increase patients’ access to medical marijuana. The current legislation made it nearly impossible for facility-bound patients without caregivers to pick up their medical marijuana without a delivery service. Now the facilities can ensure that patients with debilitating illnesses have access to the treatments they need.

Refer back to Marijuana Doctors to keep track of updates to the medical marijuana program.

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