It’s Now Legal to Grow Medical Marijuana in New York

Joe Evans
Joe Evans - Content Writer

Nov 09 2021 - 4 min read

New Yorkers are on the brink of being able to grow their very own cannabis plant in the comfort of their own homes. The state of New York’s Cannabis Control Board proposed rules this week for home cultivation of medical cannabis, a right that medical patients all over the country have been fighting tooth and nail to get for nearly a decade.

With today’s vote, we are advancing these measures for the home cultivation of medical cannabis for the public’s input as we continue to expand the program and give more New Yorkers access to this medicine and the relief it provides,” Cannabis Control Board chair Tremaine Wright told the press

Thankfully, we here at Leafwell have your back with all the essential information, details, rules, and regulations surrounding home growing in the Empire State. 

The Proposed New Rules for Homegrowing in New York

The state of New York is known for its tight regulations and rules, whether it involves firearms, traffic, or even just soda. So it should come as no surprise that the proposed new rules surrounding home growing cannabis are just as precise.

For example, the proposed new rules only allow for six plants in total, three fully mature plants and three immature, non-flowering cannabis plants. That limit applies to both patients themselves and caregivers. However it’s important to note, caregivers in New York can have more than one patient under their care. In these cases, caregivers with more than one patient under their care can grow one additional plant for every patient the first six. Patients are limited to only one caregiver, as it is in most states. 

Other rules and regulations included in the board’s proposed ideas are related to the storage of the cannabis plants, protecting the community and patients themselves, and keeping that medical cannabis from being illegally bought and sold in the community surrounding it. 

For starters, the new rules dictate that the plants must be kept in secure locations that incorporate reasonable measures like locks and security devices to ensure that nobody under 21 can easily access the plants. The rules also say that patients and caregivers cultivating plants at home must take reasonable steps to mitigate the smells of homegrowing cannabis. Patients or caregivers also can’t give away or sell any of the cannabis they grow at home to anyone else. 

How New York’s Proposed Rules Compare to Other States Rules 

If this new set of rules were to be approved, the state of New York’s rules and regulations would be about on par with the vast majority of the other 20 states that permit patients and caregivers to grow their own cannabis at home. 

Here’s a list of the states that allow homegrowing: 

    • Alaska
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • New Mexico
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Washington
    • Washington, D.C. 

Let’s compare the rules to some of the other states on this list. New York’s six plant limit is similar to the plant limit in states like Colorado, California, Washington D.C., Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington. While patients and caregivers in states like Arizona, Hawaii, and Michigan can grow more than six plants, six is the most common limit at this time.

Unlike in D.C., for example, New Yorkers aren’t able to give their excess homegrown cannabis away. In D.C., you can gift another person homegrown cannabis as long as no money exchanges hands. New York’s rules on the matter are much more aligned with every other state when it comes to giving away or receiving homegrown cannabis.

The Benefits of Homegrowing 

These new rules are important for many reasons. Firstly, an effective way to guarantee a patient access to their much-needed medicine is to ensure that they can grow it themselves. While most patients have quick and easy access to dispensaries to get anything they need, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that a physical trip to the dispensary isn’t always possible. 

While many states designated dispensaries as essential businesses or offer patients curbside product pick-up or delivery options, a valuable back up option is to make sure a medical patient has quick and easy access to their medicine is to let them grow it themselves. 

On top of that, patients who grow have complete control over what exactly goes into their medical cannabis than they do for the products that they buy at the dispensary. Even the best medical cannabis in some of the most mature and well-developed legal cannabis marketplaces in the world has some pesticides in them. If you’re growing your own cannabis at home, you have total control of the products that go into and onto that plant. Cleaner, greener, and less contaminated medicine is always good. 

It can also be cheaper to grow your own plants at home, especially in the long term. While you might have to make the initial investment to get the seeds and plants, the fertilizers and potting soil, the heat lamps and greenhouse setups, and a quality irrigation system, once you have all of those things it’s cheaper in the long run than paying the overly inflated prices at the dispensary in many states.  

Download Our 7 Page Guide to Growing Cannabis

When Will the Rules Kick In?

So with all of these new rules in mind, is it legal to grow medical marijuana in New York? Well, not quite yet. 

Although the new rules got formally approved by the board in late October 2021, they’re now subject to a 60-day public review comment period that would allow for patients, caregivers, and the general public to weigh in on the rules before they get officially approved fully. Once those rules officially get approved by the board after the review process, patients and caregivers will be able to start homegrowing. Leafwell will keep you updated on the news. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know. 


Written by
Joe Evans
Joe Evans

Joe Evans is a journalist, writer, editor and contributor for Leafwell. He has, to date, more than 5,000 articles published online under his byline on topics like cannabis, local and National news, politics, automotive news, sports, pop culture and even a cult.

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