How to Get a New York Medical Marijuana Card in 2021

Ruth Lemon
Ruth Lemon - VP of Operations

Apr 13 2020 - 9 min read

Are you interested in getting a Medical Marijuana Card in New York? You’ve come to the right place. We hope this article acts as a valuable guide to help you understand the process of applying for your medical marijuana recommendation letter. We keep this information up to date to make sure it is accurate and makes your journey as simple as possible. Keep reading to find out more.

Table of Contents
  1. Getting a New York Medical Marijuana Card Online
  2. Who Can Apply
  3. What Does an MMJ Card Permit in New York?
  4. How do I Apply?
  5. What Does my Online Medical Marijuana Evaluation with Leafwell Include?
  6. How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card Cost in New York?
  7. What Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana in New York
  8. What Documents I Need to Qualify for a New York Medical Marijuana Card?
  9. Do I Need to Present my Medical Records to Leafwell?
  10. How Does a Caregiver Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?
  11. Can a Qualifying Patient Grow Cannabis in New York?
  12. Are my Details Kept Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?
  13. Does New York have reciprocity with any other medical marijuana states?
  14. Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Queen’s, Manhattan, White Plains, Brooklyn or the Bronx
  15. History of Medical Marijuana Laws in New York
  16. Current New York Medical Marijuana Laws
  17. Useful Links

Getting a New York Medical Marijuana Card Online

In July 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation permitting the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Even though recreational marijuana has now been legalized in New York, having a medical marijuana card is still the best protection from prosecution in NY.

With Leafwell, it is quick and simple and secure to get a New York Medical Marijuana Card online. We’ve put together this valuable guide which will answer all your questions and help individuals living in New York State understand the importance of applying for their New York MMJ Card via the easy, HIPAA Compliant process offered by Leafwell’s telemedicine platform. You can visit our Ultimate Guide to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card for more general information.

Who Can Apply?

To apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in New York, you must be a legal resident of New York.

Patients must be aged 18 or over in order to apply for a medical marijuana card for themselves. Minors can have caregivers apply on their behalf.

Registered caregivers must be aged 21 or over.

What Does an MMJ Card Permit in New York?

As an MMJ Card holder in New York, you are permitted to possess:

  • a 30 day supply of cannabis-infused, non-smokable products.

Medical marijuana patients cannot buy products for smoking. Instead you can purchase lotions, ointments, patches, solid and semi-solid products (such as chewable tablets or lozenges). Some non-smokable forms of ground plant material may also be available.

How do I Apply?

1. Register online with Leafwell and speak to a friendly physician

You can speak to a doctor and qualify for a NY medical marijuana card online. The cost of the online consultation is $149. You are only billed if approved.

2. Create a My.NY.Gov account and select the Medical Marijuana Data Management System.

Enter all of your details and submit your physician’s certification. The cost of the application is $50, payable to the state.

3. You will then be issued a temporary NY Registry Identification Card

Your temporary NY medical marijuana card will be sent through your My.NY.gov account, alongside your state-issued identification to purchase approved Medical Marijuana products.

4. You will receive your medical marijuana card in the mail within 7-10 days.

If your medical card hasn’t arrived, you can carry on using your temporary card for up to 30 days.

What Does my Online Medical Marijuana Evaluation with Leafwell Include?

Your online medical marijuana evaluation with Leafwell is quick and easy. In order to get started, we’ll need you to provide us with some preliminary details about your health. We do not need medical records but if you have them, you can upload them as part of the registration process. These are all passed securely to one of our registered practitioners who can familiarize themselves with your application before your consultation.

The consultation itself is simple and secure, taking place on our bespoke telemedicine platform. You will meet with a New York registered practitioner who has experience issuing certificates for medical marijuana to patients for a range of medical issues. The registered practitioner will speak with you about why you are applying and ask some questions with regards to your medical conditions and history.

At the end of the consultation, the registered practitioner will be able to make an informed decision about whether they recommend the use of medical cannabis based on the medical information they have obtained. If an application is successful, the registered practitioner will complete the certification, which will be promptly emailed in PDF form, ready to be uploaded as part of an application to the New York government.

If an application is unsuccessful, you will receive an email detailing why our registered practitioner felt unable to provide you with the certificate. You will not be charged for the consultation.

Once obtained, the certification will last for one year.

How Much Does a Medical Marijuana Card Cost in New York?

The initial consultation with one of the New York registered practitioners via Leafwell’s HIPAA compliant online consultation service is a flat fee of $149. However, if you do not qualify for an MMJ Card and our practitioner elects not to sign your certificate, you will not be charged. If you already have a medical card and are seeking to renew it with Leafwell, our fee is also $149.

There is no state fee at the moment due to COVID-19.

There is no additional fee for applications which include a designated caregiver.

What Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana Cards in New York?

According to New York law in 2021, the following debilitating conditions may qualify you for a medical marijuana card in New York:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injury with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Neuropathy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic pain

Note that this list is up to date as of August 2021. Legislation or the Commissioner of Health may add additional conditions, at which time, Leafwell will update this list.

What Documents Do I Need to Qualify for a New York Medical Marijuana Card?

In order to apply for your MMJ Card in New York, you will need to show your signed certificate which provides proof of your condition as well as your identification documents. You should gather together the following:

  • ID
  • Proof of residency

Below are all of the acceptable forms these documents may take.

Acceptable ID

  • ID number from your NYS Driver’s License or NYS Non-Driver ID Card. When registering online, do NOT upload a copy of your ID. You only need to enter the 9- digit number in the NYS DMV ID field provided on the registration screen.

Those without a NY, NYS Driver’s License or NYS Non-Driver ID Card can upload a recent photo; head and shoulders up on a plain background (jpg format) with no hat or sunglasses. This photo can be taken with a cell phone or camera.

Acceptable proof of residency

  • Pay stubs (from within the last two months)
  • Current lease agreement
  • Utility bill (gas, electric, cable) with service address that matches the certification address from one of the last two months
  • Mortgage statement from one of the last two months
  • NYC ID Card
  • Social Security Administration official correspondence
  • Practitioner/Hospital bill from last two months

Do I Need to Present my Medical Records to Leafwell?

Not, it is not legally required. However, we do invite you to upload them as part of your registration process if you have them. This is because it helps your healthcare provider to offer more specific and better guidance and advice. However, the program does not demand that healthcare providers see medical records. Therefore, if you don’t have them, you can still get a medical card with Leafwell.

How Does a Caregiver Apply for an NY Medical Marijuana Card?

Some patients may be eligible for an MMJ Card but unable to apply for one themselves. For example, should the patient be a minor under the age of 18, or if the patient needs assistance accessing medical cannabis, a caregiver can be assigned to complete the process on their behalf.

Caregivers must be aged 21 or over. Each certified patient may have up to two caregivers, and each caregiver may serve no more than five certified patients.

Can a Qualifying Patient Grow Cannabis in New York?

Yes, it is legal for medical marijuana patients to cultiate their own cannabis plants. Up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants per person, with a maximum of 12 mature plants and 12 immature plants per household.

Are my Details Kept Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?

Yes. Leafwell is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients. Our online service is HIPAA compliant and our systems are designed to keep all of your confidential details safe.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Queen’s, Manhattan, White Plains, Brooklyn or the Bronx

There is little if any difference in medical cannabis laws between different NY jurisdictions. Regardless of where you are in New York, you can get a medical marijuana card online with Leafwell, MD. Here are our some of our locations, from where you can speak to a physician online and qualify for a certificate via telehealth:

Leafwell MD Online MMJ Clinic, Brooklyn

92-15 Rockaway Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11417, USA
(332) 333-5031

Leafwell MD Online Medical Marijuana Doctors, Manhattan

470 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
(332) 333-5031

Leafwell MD Medical Cannabis Clinic, Manhattan

E 77th St, New York, NY, USA
(332) 333-5031

Leafwell MD Online Medical Marijuana Clinic, Queens

20-21 College Point Blvd, College Point, NY 11356, USA
(332) 333-5031

Leafwell MD Online Medical Cannabis Clinic, White Plains

929 N Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603, USA
(332) 333-5031

Remember: you don’t have to visit a clinic in-person in order to qualify for a certificate & MMJ card in New York – you can do it all online, with Leafwell! The above aren’t all necessarily “clinics”, either – they’re shops or stores in some cases, and you will be restricted by their opening times. It is easiest for most people to just speak to a qualified medical marijuana doctor online from the comfort of their own homes.

Will insurance cover my cannabis card?

New York is so far the only state where the costs of qualifying for a medical cannabis card may be reimbursed via insurance.

Are my Details Kept Confidential When I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?

Yes. Leafwell is committed to protecting the privacy of our patients. Our online service is HIPAA compliant and our systems are designed to keep all of your confidential details safe.

Does New York have reciprocity with any other medical marijuana states?

Some states accept out-of-state Medical Marijuana Cards. This is called reciprocity. The following states accept out-of-state medical cannabis cards:

  • Alaska ^
  • Arkansas *
  • California ^
  • Colorado ^
  • Hawaii *
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma *
  • Oregon ^
  • Puerto Rico
  • Washington ^
  • Washington D.C.

States marked with * require visitors to complete a visiting patient application for the duration of their stay.

States marked with ^ have adult use programs but do not accept out of state cards.

History of Medical Marijuana Laws in New York

Marijuana and New York have a long history and the drug was mentioned by the New York Daily News in 1857 with the New York Times writing about it in 1901. Back then, marijuana was legal in the state but a law was enacted in 1927 which made marijuana illegal. It remains illegal, depending on the amount possessed, but medical marijuana is now legal, following the passing of the Compassionate Care Act in 2014 which states:

“Medical marihuana has the potential to alleviate the pain and suffering of New Yorkers afflicted with serious illnesses.”

Here are some key milestones which relate to medical marijuana:

  • 2014 – Assembly Bill 6357 (AB 6357) was approved and signed into law by the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. This removed state-level penalties for medical marijuana patients with a signed, written physician’s recommendation letter.
  • 2015 – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill enabling an expedited certification process for seriously ill patients.
  • 2016 – The first 8 (of the expected 20) medical marijuana dispensaries are opened.
  • 2017 – NY’s medical marijuana program is expanded, allowing for a greater range of products to be sold in dispensaries. New dispensary procedures were also introduced. Patients will be able to walk into a dispensary and speak with a representative about their treatment options.
  • 2019 – Governor Cuomo signed a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts (up to 2 ounces) of marijuana. Crucially, it did not legalise it.
  • In early 2020, Governor Cuomo vowed to legalise marijana in 2020. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we predict this will be delayed but hope to see more progressive legislation passed in 2021.

Despite Medical Marijuana Cards now being available in New York, accessing the product can be a little inconvenient, especially compared to other states. In fact, there are only 37 licensed shops in New York State while over 110,000 residents hold cards.

Additionally, cannabis flowers remain illegal, except for vapable pods. Edibles, beverages and candies are also all illegal.

It is illegal to vaporise medical marijuana in a public place or within one hundred feet of entrances, exits or outdoor areas of schools (with the exception of residential buildings which happen to fall within this radius).

It is illegal to consume approved medical marijuana products in a motor vehicle which is on a public highway or parking lot.

With the increasing awareness surrounding the importance and value of cannabis for medicinal purposes, legislation has been drafted to protect the rights of those who have MMJ Cards. It is important to understand your rights and the protections in place when applying for a Medical Cannabis Card.

Current New York Medical Marijuana Laws

New York medical marijuana patients have the right to:

  • Enrol in school without rejection based only on cardholder status
  • Rent an apartment without eviction or rejection based solely on patient status
  • Work at their place of employment without discrimination for having a card or testing positive for marijuana
  • Receive healthcare without disqualification merely due to medical marijuana treatment
  • Visit or have custody of their child without denial only based on patient status
  • Hold a state-issued license without suspension on the sole basis of cardholder status
  • However, a medical marijuana card may also prohibit a qualifying patient from:
  • Owning a firearm
  • Prevent them from getting/keeping a federal job, or a job that requires a commercial driver’s licence

Written by
Ruth Lemon
Ruth Lemon

Ruth Lemon has worked in Cambodia and Australia, gaining experience in the non-profit sector, education and international development, and digital marketing. Ruth is helping Leafwell to scale without compromising the customer experience and seeks to create a frictionless customer journey. She now lives in the UK with her rescued Cambodian cat and believes Leafwell is improving access to and understanding of a valuable medical alternative.

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