New York State Cannabis Board Relaxes Medical Cannabis Rules – Allows Sellable Flower

Medical cannabis patients will finally be able to smoke their medical cannabis in the state of New York thanks to sweeping changes to the state’s medical system. Smokeable cannabis will be allowed for sale for the first time since Gov. Kathy Hochul and state representatives hired five new cannabis control representatives and they quickly went to work loosening up the state regulations. Improving patients’ access and care is a mandated priority according to the board’s chairman, Tremaine Wright. 

Notable Changes To New York’s Medical System

On top of giving patients access to smokable cannabis, the cannabis board also included other notable changes like doubling the limit patients can have in their possession – from 30 days to 60 days. They also expanded the types of practitioners who can prescribe medical cannabis. Anyone licensed to prescribe controlled substances can now prescribe medicinal cannabis as well. This includes dentists, midwives, podiatrists, and midwives. The $50 caregiver fee was permanently waved and streamlined the approval process for caregiver facilities and dispensaries. 

These changes came about after Gov. Hochul appointed new members to the Office of Cannabis Management to unimpeded the state’s medical and recreational systems rollout. New York’s recreational cannabis industry rollout is still an estimated 18 months away so lawmakers urged the state’s cannabis regulatory bodies to speed up the medical program expansions. These changes were spurred from not only the Governor’s office but the Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat and the Assembly marijuana law sponsor. 

Before this expansion, cannabis was only allowed in edible and concentrated form. Smokeable cannabis is not only huge for patients getting the products they need for whatever ails them, it’s also a big step in creating a healthy culture around the medical and recreational cannabis industries. When people think of cannabis culture, they (usually) think of friends passing joints around a circle. Sharing and smoking with friends is a vital pillar of any healthy cannabis culture. While concentrates and edibles can be incredible medicines, there will always be something special about the power that smoking cannabis has to bring people together.

Smoking cannabis - the effects of secondhand marijuana smoke

Pros and Cons of Cannabis Flower

The pros of smoking medical cannabis lie within its familiarity and variety of uses. It’s probably the easiest way to get familiar with cannabis as a medicine as smokable forms are usually the most accessible. It’s also easy to dose and the effects are felt almost immediately which is great for patients looking to relieve pain or insomnia.

Cannabis flowers can also be transformed into cannabis butter. This allows patients the ability to create their own edibles and control their desired dosages. Getting consistent dosing is still an issue when purchasing over-the-counter edibles. 

However, smoking cannabis can be harmful to one’s lung health, and inhaling any form of smoke comes with risks like potential cancer or other lung diseases. Luckily there are other ways you can use cannabis flower that mitigates these risks. Cannabis flowers can be vaporized which significantly reduces the carcinogens that are released in cannabis smoke. Cannabis vapor is ignited through heat versus an open flame and is a preferred method for many cannabis patients because it has the same quick onset as smoking cannabis and dosing works similarly as well.

New York’s inclusion of smokeable cannabis is a huge win towards giving patients the freedom they need to self-medicate properly. The New York Cannabis board has yet to specify when medical cannabis will be available in the smokable form, but they vowed to move quickly because the recreational industry is still 18 months away from being rolled out in the state. You can get certified for the New York program with Leafwell today. Click to see a New York physician now.

Written by
headshot of writer jonathan olsen-koziol
Jonathan Olsen-Koziol

Jon is a journalist and content creator that has been working in the cannabis industry for over four years. He got his start covering the cannabis beat in college for the CWU Observer. After graduation he visited dispensaries and weed farms along the entire West Coast writing blogs and features for Respect My Region. Jon loves telling stories about what makes the cannabis industry an amazing and vital entity in the world. Jon is an avid gamer, fantasy football fanatic, and also writes about comic books at

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