Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: January 18, 2023
New York Legal Sales Begin!
On December 29, 2022, New York officially opened for cannabis sales to adults over age 21. Under the law passed in March 2021, consumers are allowed to purchase up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate. According to the Office of Cannabis Management there are 36 stores slated to open initially with an additional 139 licenses yet to be issued.
This historic milestone wouldn't be possible without legislative leadership, the governor’s office, advocates, and lawmakers working to get cannabis reform across the finish line.
New York Medical Home Grow Law Takes Effect
Starting October 5, medical cannabis patients aged 21 and over can grow up to three mature plants and three immature plants.
Under rules adopted by the Cannabis Control Board, designated caregivers who care for those under the age 21 or those unable to cultivate their own cannabis are permitted to grow up to six mature or immature plants. Caregivers are permitted to grow for up to four patients.
Only certified patients and caregivers registered with the Office of Cannabis Management all allowed to home grow. They are not permitted to sell the cannabis they grow. The cannabis must be grown in a secure location within a private residence, and the grower must take reasonable measures to restrict persons minors from accessing the plants.
This provision was a crucial component of New York's 2021 legalization to ensure that medical cannabis patients maintain affordable access to their medicine in an adult use market.
Gov. Hochul signs bill to speed up adult-use cannabis cultivation
On February 22, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed S. 08084 into law. The legislation clears the way for existing New York hemp farmers to apply for conditional licenses to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season.
Under the new law, hemp farmers that were licensed with the Department of Agriculture as of December 31, 2021 would be allowed to cultivate up to 43,500 square feet outdoors, 25,000 square feet in greenhouse facilities, or no more than 30,000 square feet comprising a combination of the outdoor and greenhouse space. The hemp businesses would be required to meet environmental sustainability, labor peace, and equity benchmarks to be allowed to cultivate and minimally process cannabis until June 2023. Hemp businesses issued provisional licenses are required to begin operations within six months of the license being issued. After June 2023, the hemp businesses are required to apply for a cultivator or processor license.
The Cannabis Control Board will open the application portal for licenses on March 15.
NY doctors can now recommend medical cannabis to treat any condition
On January 24, 2022, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) approved an expansion of the medical cannabis program to allow doctors the ability to prescribe cannabis for any condition. Prior to the expansion, doctors were only allowed to prescribe cannabis for a limited number of conditions permitted by statute. The expansion was authorized as part of OCM’s new Medical Cannabis Program certification and registration system.
Late last year, the Cannabis Control Board also moved forward with regulations to allow medical patients to grow up to six plants for personal use. Both changes were made possible by last year’s legalization law.
New York Cannabis Control Board and executive director appointed
New York’s Cannabis Control Board is now fully appointed. The Board held its first meeting on October 5, 2021. Under NY’s 2021 legalization law – the Marihuana Reform and Tax Act – the Board is charged with overseeing the Office of Cannabis Management which is responsible for developing regulations for the adult-use sale, transportation, and delivery of cannabis in the Empire State.
On September 2, 2021, Gov. Hochul announced the appointment of Christopher Alexander as executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management and former Assemblymember Tremaine Wright as chair of the Cannabis Control Board. The formation of the Board was delayed due to the resignation of Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In late March of 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and legislative leaders reached consensus on the details of legalizing cannabis in the Empire State, and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) received final approval from state legislators on March 30. The following day, Gov. Cuomo signed the bill to legalize adult-use cannabis, making New York the 16th state to end cannabis prohibition!
New York was the third state to adopt a legalization policy by passing a bill through its state legislature, following Illinois and Vermont.
Under the legislation, adults over 21 may possess up to three ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of concentrate, plus adults can grow a maximum of three mature plants and three immature plants once regulations are adopted. Legal possession of up to three ounces is effective immediately. Additionally, the law includes provisions for automatic expungement, community reinvestment, and measures to ensure the industry includes communities that have been disproportionately targeted by cannabis enforcement. A summary of the MRTA is available here.
Congratulations to the Empire State on this huge victory!
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MPP has played a leading role in enacting 10 of the 18 state legalization laws, along with numerous decriminalization and medical cannabis laws. In 2021, a record number of states legalized legislatively, and we laid groundwork for future victories in other states. This year, the movement achieved victories in ...