From calming the mind and the body by inducing cerebral euphoria and physical relaxation to helping with weight loss, severe pain, and shrinking cancer cells, the health benefits of marijuana abound.
And yet despite its medicinal value, the stigmatization surrounding weed has still not died down. Most marijuana users are deemed rowdy, outcasts, sick in the head even, even those using marijuana for medicinal value are despised against sometimes.
And the law is not straight about marijuana either. In fact, in most U.S states, marijuana is still in the grey zone, legally speaking. In New York, for example, except for a few changes in medical marijuana, the state’s marijuana laws remain pretty much intact. So how do you navigate New York’s Medical marijuana scene, legally?
The state of New York’s 2014 Compassionate Care Act allows for the limited use of marijuana for medicinal value. The regulation enables not more than 20 medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within the state. Patients with a medical marijuana card (MMJ) can walk into any of the medical marijuana wellness centers within the state and fill up their marijuana prescriptions.
Forms of medical marijuana in New York
However, the law is unambiguous that marijuana for medical use should be cannabis-infused, non-smokable products in forms such as oils, pills, or in inhalers. So, if you thought you could get your fix by smoking marijuana away, you won’t get that in governor Cuomo’s New York.
Licensed medical marijuana organizations in New York are also permitted to craft and distribute marijuana products, including topicals, ointments, lotions, patches, and semi-solid chewable, lozenges, and effervescent tablets. However, for some reason, edibles are not included in MMJ cards.
Becoming a legal, licensed and registered MMJ patient in New York
Now, let’s talk about New York’s medical marijuana card, shall we? Is it hard to get it? What are the qualifications? How do you apply for a medical marijuana card in New York?
Getting an MMJ card in New York is not hard, it just involves a thorough process to ensure you are requesting the card for the right reasons, you don’t want to dupe the system now, do you? A medical marijuana card will make you a legal, licensed, and registered patient under the state’s MMJ laws.
The process isn’t as hard as it used to be a few years back. Patients who used to complain of how the process was infuriatingly laborious were those with chronic pain, which wasn’t listed in the conditions to qualify for an MMJ card in New York back then, but now it is easy, and the whole process is smooth.
In fact, after qualifying for an MMJ based on your medical condition, get a physician’s recommendation, and apply for the card online. Here’s a complete breakdown of the process for MMJ patient certification in New York:
- Meet the qualifying conditions
New York’s 2014 Compassionate Care Act says that patients with the following conations can qualify for an MMJ card.
- Chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Opioid use disorder
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- ALS, cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and any case that requires the use of opioids.
- Prove your New York residency
If you are living with any of the above debilitating health conditions, the next step is to arm yourself with documents that prove you are a legal New York resident. You can confirm this with your state-issued ID or a passport bearing a New York address. Apart from the two, you may also use bank statements or copies of your utility bills to prove your residency.
- Go for a doctor’s evaluation and get a recommendation
The next step is to get a written certification from your physician. In this step, please use a physician registered through New York’s MMJ program for the condition you wish to receive MMJ certification.
Also, choose a physician who can provide continuous care to keep your legal status. You can find MMJ doctors using telehealth services like mmjdoctor.com, where diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, etc., is done online.
The letter of certification must contain the following info:
- Marijuana usage for your debilitating health condition may be beneficial.
- Authorized brand name
- Form of the approved MMJ
- How medical marijuana can be administered
- Dosages to determine a 30-day supply of medicine, you will be allowed to possess.
- Submit an online application
Once you get your medical marijuana patient certificate, assemble documents in step 2, and apply for an MMJ card online through Ny.gov. After submission and approval, you will be issued a temporal card while you await the permanent card’s arrival.
There’s a $50 application fee, of course, but keep in mind fees are non-refundable, so probably avoid making payments until you get approval for your application.
There you go lovelies, applying for an MMJ card in New York is easy peasy. The MMJ card allows you to walk in the state’s registered MMJ dispensaries and stock up a 30-day MMJ prescription.
However, it doesn’t give you permission to cultivate cannabis at home or carry other forms of marijuana like chewable, flowers, etc., only recommended MMJ forms. The card lasts for a year, and the renewal process is similar to getting a new card.