“I want to buy medical marijuana in New York but hear that you need to be approved by a doctor first. Is this true? What’s involved in getting approved?”
In New York, as in other states where medical cannabis is legalized, you need to get a medical card before you can buy marijuana from a licensed dispensary.
Having a medical marijuana card is currently the only way to buy marijuana from a legal, trusted source in the state. While New York voted to legalize adult-use or recreational weed in 2021, the slow, grinding wheels of bureaucracy may mean that licensed dispensaries may not be up and running until later in 2022 or even in 2023.
The New York State Depart of Health outlines a four-step process for obtaining medical marijuana certification:
- Contact a practitioner registered with the DOH to see if medical marijuana may help with your health condition.
- Obtain patient certification from the registered practitioner.
- Register online with the state and a Registry ID card will be mailed to you.
- Purchase your medical cannabis from a legally registered dispensary.
While it might be a doctor who is your medical marijuana practitioner, the regulations are much broader than this, allowing a variety of differently qualified practitioners. In October 2021, the DOH expanded the definition of the type of practitioner who could certify patients for the medical use of cannabis to include “anyone who is licensed, registered, or certified by New York State to prescribe controlled substances to humans within the State such as dentists, podiatrists, and midwives.”
Before they are certified, the practitioners must complete a two-hour course.
Some of the best practitioners for medical marijuana certification are those working for HelloMD. Helping New York residents to get their medical cannabis cards is their main focus and expertise, while some medical doctors may not be up to speed on the medical marijuana field, which is changing all the time.
The certification process is all done online and is fast, easy, and professional — allowing you to use your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC to go through the steps from the comfort of your home.
First, you register online and provide some basic information about yourself. You would pay $129 for your consultation, but only if you are approved for your medical marijuana card. You also used to have to pay a $50 registration fee with the state, but New York has now waived this.
Then you would have a telehealth consultation with the HelloMD New York practitioner that lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. It is advised that you do the consultation in a private, well-lit space, away from distraction. The practitioner will ask you about your medical history, medications you are taking, and more.
The consultation is also a chance for you to ask questions about anything related to using medical marijuana, whether it is possible side effects or addiction issues. It’s a good idea to write down any questions ahead of time, so you don’t forget anything during the live consultation.
The practitioner will determine if you have one of the conditions approved by New York for the use of medical marijuana:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Chronic pain
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- HIV /AIDS
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Opioid use disorder (only if enrolled in a treatment program pursuant to article 32 of the mental hygiene law.)
- Opioid replacement
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Also, it would include any of the following conditions where it is clinically associated with, or a complication of, a condition under this paragraph or its treatment:
- Cachexia/Wasting syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasm
- Opioid use disorder (only if enrolled in a treatment program pursuant to article 32 of the mental hygiene law)
Once you receive an approval certification for medical cannabis from your HelloMD practitioner, you have to register your certification at my.ny.gov and apply to the NY State Medical Marijuana Program.
After this, you would receive your medical marijuana card through the mail within 10 business days, and can now purchase cannabis from an authorized dispensary, either in the brick-and-mortar store or online.
If you want to buy medical marijuana before receiving the card, you can, if you are approved by the state and get a temporary card number. HelloMD will help you any step along the way if you have questions or problems with the certification process.