Whether you enjoy marijuana in a recreational setting or require it to treat a medical condition, New York is one of a handful of suitable states to live in. On March 31, 2021, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act legalized the adult use of cannabis throughout the state.

However, just because marijuana is now legal doesn’t mean it isn’t controlled. There are a slew of regulations that limit where and how you can use marijuana within the state, and if you violate any of them, you may be susceptible to criminal charges. New York State maintains a website explaining these regulations.

Federal Law

Before diving into New York State laws, in particular, you need to know that marijuana is still illegal to own, use, transport, purchase, or sell under federal law, which means that even if you can legally own marijuana within one state, you should be careful when traveling and avoid making any interstate purchases.

Purchasing and Ownership Limits

The first regulation that you need to be aware of in New York State is the limit in place for purchasing and owning marijuana. If you are of the legal age (21) to purchase marijuana, you are limited to three ounces of the flower or 24 grams of concentrate if it is intended for recreational use. 

However, if it is intended specifically for medical use, you can own up to a 60-day supply. Furthermore, for medical use, you can only purchase the following forms of marijuana:

  • Flowers
  • Liquid or oil preparations
  • Capsules, tablets, or lozenges
  • Ground cannabis that isn’t smokable
  • Topical cannabis

Notably, edibles are not legal to purchase for medical use in the state.

Conditions that Qualify for Medical Marijuana

Another limitation to purchasing medical marijuana is that only those with specific conditions can have it prescribed to them. These conditions include the following:

  • Most types of cancer
  • ALS
  • Chronic pain
  • Seizures, including those from epilepsy
  • IBS
  • AIDS or HIV
  • Nerve or spinal cord damage
  • Conditions that an opioid can legally be prescribed for
  • Huntington’s disease
  • MS

Your doctor will know the complete list, and they will not prescribe you marijuana for any condition that is not clearly permitted.

In-State Use Only

Medical marijuana can only be purchased in New York by residents of the state. If you have a medical marijuana card from another state, New York does not allow dispensaries to sell you cannabis.

Whether your medical marijuana card can be used in another state depends on the laws of its state of origin, but given that the drug is still illegal at the federal level, you should expect that exchanges are unlikely no matter where you go.

Growing Your Own Marijuana

If you don’t want to purchase marijuana, it can be grown on your own. Unfortunately, since the regulations for growing marijuana haven’t been finalized by the legislature yet, you can’t currently do so legally.

That said, once those regulations are put in place, the per-person limit will allow up to three flowering plants and three seedlings, while a single household is limited to six of each. Furthermore, these plants can only be grown for recreational use: You cannot grow marijuana for medical use.

Driving Under the Influence

Marijuana is similar to alcohol with regard to driving. Although you can legally smoke cannabis in New York State, you may not drive while high. If you do, you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the consequences of which are just as bad as they are for drunk driving, especially if you get into a car accident.

When you’re considering how to approach your use of marijuana in New York, just remember that it is legal with limits in the state but still illegal federally. However, you should still act with proper discretion until the legal landscape gets less rocky.

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