How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New York [2022 Guide]

By Deb Tharp Updated October 22nd

Fact-checked by Deb Tharp

When President Nixon began the Drug War in earnest, it was nearly inconceivable to most illicit cannabis users that the world would acknowledge the Devil’s lettuce as an actual medicine. Oh, the hippies knew what cannabis was capable of, but the rest of the world treated “marihuana” like a weapon of mass destruction.

You can still see some of this leftover mentality in the intensely prohibitive regulations that surround the plant – even in legal states. Still, we’ve come a long way since the ’70s, as a recent poll shows an astonishing 93% of Americans approve of medical cannabis.

New York is one of the 37 (and counting) states that now allow cannabis use for medical purposes. If you’re thinking about asking your doctor whether cannabis is a good choice for your particular condition, you’ve come to the right place.

­­­In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming a medical cannabis patient in New York.

How Do I Become a Medical Cannabis Patient in New York?

There are a few basic steps to becoming a registered cannabis patient in New York:

  1. Get your documents together. That means any relevant medical records along with your NY state ID. If you don’t have a state ID, you can use a utility bill, lease, or another document to prove your residence in NY. People temporarily residing in NY for medical treatment can also access the program.
  2. See a doctor for your evaluation.
  3. Once you’ve been approved, your doctor will send you your certification within 24-48 hours along with instructions to register with the state.
  4. When you have your certification, go to my.ny.gov to register as a patient using your certification.
  5. After the state approves you, you’ll receive a temporary card that’s good for 30 days. Print it out, and you’ll be able to use it to purchase medical cannabis.
  6. Wait for your permanent card to come in the mail. When it arrives, you’ll be able to start using it to purchase cannabis.

How Do I Renew a Med Card in NY?

New York medical marijuana cards are valid for one year, unless specified otherwise. The state recommends that you renew your certification a few weeks before the expiration date to ensure that there isn’t a lapse in your certification.

Who Qualifies for Medical Cannabis in NY?

Cannabis or Medical Marijuana Vs Opiods

All New York residents with recommendation from a state-certified doctor are eligible for the state’s medical marijuana program. Adults 18 and over can manage their own medical cannabis, but minors under 18 will need a guardian or designated caregiver to approve of their medical cannabis use and administer the medication.

What Are the Qualifying Conditions to Get a Med Card in New York?

New York has done away with qualifying conditions, instead leaving the choice up to the recommending physician as to whether medical cannabis would be an appropriate treatment. However, the state does have a list of commonly applicable conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • HIV or AIDS
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury with spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Pain relief as an alternative to opioid use
  • Substance use disorder
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Dystonia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autism

How to Find a New York Medical Marijuana Doctor for an MMJ Evaluation

Even though the Empire State has opened up its medical marijuana program to any condition a recommending physician deems appropriate, it’s unlikely that a licensed physician will recommend medical cannabis for something extremely minor, especially with no documentation.

Your doctor should ask to see the medical records connected to your condition. These records might include:

  • Hospital visits
  • Prescriptions
  • Physical therapy records
  • Detailed patient charts
  • Medical test results

It’s a good idea to have all of those records ready before you talk to the doctor so you can provide any supplemental information he or she needs. Also, plan for the extra time it may take to track down certain records and other info. A legitimate doctor will take every step necessary to ensure you qualify under the law before certification.

For New York residents who shudder at the thought of making a special trip or simply don’t have time in their hurried schedule, consultations can be done entirely online. Save the car fare and cook that homemade meal while talking to your cannabis doctor from the privacy and comfort of home.

How to Start the Conversation with Your Cannabis Doctor

It’s important to know that not every doctor in New York can recommend cannabis as medicine. Doctors are first required to take a 4-hour certification course then register with the program as providers; so don’t be bewildered if your doctor won’t prescribe it. Instead, ask for a referral to a cannabis-friendly doctor who is qualified to help.

During the registration process, your doctor will have the option to tell the state their recommended method of administration and THC:CBD ratio. He or she will also have the option to leave this decision up to your dispensary’s pharmacist. Just discuss these preferences with your doctor during the consultation to make sure you get the proper dosage and cannabis type that meet your needs.

SEE ALSO: How to Find a Medical Marijuana Doctor Near You

Get Your Medical Cannabis Recommendation Online: The NuggMD Process

medical marijuana card online

If your doctor determines you’ll benefit from cannabis, he or she will register you with the state as a medical cannabis patient. Here’s the NuggMD process:

1) Create an account with NuggMD New York.

2) Provide basic info like your name, address and proof of age.

3) Provide your medical history with as much detail about your condition(s) as possible so the doctor will have a chance to evaluate your potential treatment options.

4) Provide your payment information and enter the virtual waiting room. You shouldn’t wait too long since there are several fully-licensed, cannabis-friendly physicians currently working with NuggMD. While you do, chat with one of our knowledgeable cannabis concierges to learn more about medical cannabis in New York.

5) When your new physician becomes available, he or she will finish your evaluation via our telemedicine platform. The video consultation can be as short or long as needed, with some consultations only requiring a few minutes to complete. And remember: don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is an important new step in your journey to wellness, and knowledge is power.

Some questions you should consider:

  • What ratio of CBD to THC do I need?
  • What method of application should I try?
  • Should I combine methods?
  • How often should I take my medicine?
  • How will this affect other medicines I am taking?

Be sure to tell your doctor about every medicine, vitamin and herb you’re currently or have recently taken so he or she can ascertain any possible interactions.

6) As a NuggMD member, you only pay $149 for the evaluation.

7) Once approved as a cannabis patient in New York, you’ll receive an email with specific instructions to complete your state registration process. If you have any trouble completing this process, just hop on over to our site and our concierge service will happily give you a hand.

What to Expect When Talking to a New York Medical Marijuana Doctor on NuggMD

NuggMD doctors are experienced at evaluating patients for medical cannabis. They’re comfortable talking about cannabis, and they’ve probably heard your questions and concerns before. Don’t be afraid to be honest about any apprehensions you may have, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. NuggMD doctors are here to help and make your medical cannabis experience as smooth as possible. It’s a good idea to write down your questions while you’re waiting in the virtual waiting room or before your consultation to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Your NuggMD doctor will want to know all of your current medications. It’s also very important to upload your medical records, so they have as much information as they need regarding your medical history. This will help them to make the best recommendation possible for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Cannabis in New York

cannabis topical cream

1. What Types of Cannabis Consumption Methods and Products Can I Use in New York?

New York doesn’t restrict the types of cannabis products available to both medical patients and recreational users (once recreational cannabis becomes available for sale). You can find flower, vapes, edibles, tinctures, and concentrates in New York.

SEE ALSO: Best Cannabis Consumption Methods

Each registered cannabis organization is also required to have at least one brand of cannabis with low THC/high CBD and one with equal THC/CBD. Aside from that, they’re allowed to produce their own brands with their own proprietary ratios of THC and CBD, along with other cannabis products.

SEE ALSO: Learn more about vaporizers, cannabis flower, edibles, tinctures, and topicals.

2. What Does Marijuana Feel Like?

Surely you’ve heard stories about uncontrollable giggles, paranoia, and the unrelenting craving for a hot fudge sundae. But what does being on cannabis really feel like?

The answer to that question depends on a lot of factors. Your body composition, age, and weight all have a role. So does your tolerance. The type of cannabis product you consume will as well. Different ratios of THC and CBD also influence the way people experience cannabis.

That said, it usually doesn’t vary too greatly. However, you should always start slow. Jumping into high THC products without any cannabis experience  is a surefire way to experience some of the less desirable effects of cannabis use.

Common effects include a sense of relaxation and a reduction of stress. This can come alone with an elevated mood and possibly that stereotypical propensity for laughter. Some cannabis users will feel energized and creative. Others might feel tired and sleepy. Which depends a lot on your body and the strain of cannabis you use.

It’s not uncommon for cannabis to make you extra hungry or even just make you feel like you want to eat something. That’s why it’s commonly used to treat nausea and anorexia. 

Cannabis can also make you lazy. Sometimes, if you consume too much cannabis, that laziness can feel almost like an inability to do anything, frequently called “couch lock.”

Even though it typically relaxes people, cannabis can also cause feelings of anxiety and paranoia. These feelings are less common with lower doses of THC, and may even be counteracted by high concentrations of CBD. 

Marijuana Leaf

3. What if My Dose is Too High?

If your dose is too high, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. This happens to patients all the time when they first start using cannabis because everyone metabolizes it differently. 

If you’re experiencing a high from an improper dose, it’s important to remain calm. No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose. Many consumers find it helps to do or watch something relaxing to take their mind off of the psychoactive effects. If that doesn’t work, it may help to lay down and try to get some sleep. Keep in mind that the high will pass soon.

Afterward, you should contact your medical marijuana doctor to let them know your dose is too high, and ask for guidance on adjusting your dosage. 

SEE ALSO: How to Sober Up from Weed

4. Can a minor register with the program?

Yes, minors can register with the program with the approval of their parent or legal guardian.

5. Are there any opportunities to apply for veteran or indigent status? 

No. New York does not make special accommodations for veterans or assign indigent status to patients. However, dispensaries often offer discounts to veterans.

6. If I’m not approved for certification by the state, will they refund my application fee?

The state no longer charges an application fee for medical marijuana cards. 

7. I received my registration email. How long is the link valid?

90 days.

8. What if I can’t find my email or didn’t receive one?

Call the state Office of Cannabis Management at 844-863-9312. They can also be reached via email at medical@ocm.ny.gov. Provide your full name, date of birth and preferred email address for your Registry profile. A new registration link should be sent to you soon after.

9. How long is my ID valid?

New York certifications typically last for one year.

10. What types of cannabis products can I buy?

Patients and caregivers can purchase a wide range of cannabis products, including dried flower, tinctures, edibles, vapes, and concentrates. 

11. Can I grow my own medical marijuana for personal use?

Not yet. New York’s OCM is figuring out the specifics, but patients will be able to grow their own plants shortly after the state’s recreational market opens, which should be sometime around the end of 2022.

12. Does New York have reciprocity laws?

No. New York does not have reciprocity laws with any other states.

13. Does New York recognize licenses issued by other states?

New York does not recognize licenses issued by other states. They do allow out-of-state medical patients who are living in New York temporarily for treatment access to the state’s medical cannabis program.

Need Help? NuggMD’s Here for You

NuggMD is the nation’s leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. They have connected over 1,000,000 patients with their new medical marijuana doctors face-to-face via their state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. They believe that every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore all of their options in their journey to wellness. For further information, visit NuggMD.com/New-York.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

You might also like: