Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about Obtaining Medical Marijuana
1. What conditions make me eligible to obtain medical marijuana?
You are potentially eligible for medical marijuana if you have been diagnosed with a specific severe, debilitating or life threatening condition that is accompanied by an associated or complicating condition. By law, those conditions are: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury with spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, and Huntington’s disease. The associated or complicating conditions are cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe or persistent muscle spasms, Opioid Use Disorder.
2. What is the first step to obtaining medical marijuana?
The first step is speaking with your treating physician about whether the medical use of marijuana is appropriate for your condition. If your physician determines this is the appropriate treatment for you and he or she registered with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program, he or she may issue you a certification for medical marijuana.
3. How can I find a registered doctor?
Patients seeking access to medical marijuana should first go to their treating practitioners. Additional information for practitioners can be found on the Department’s website: Practitioner Education for the Medical Marijuana Program. Practitioners may also identify registered physicians who consented to be listed, with their specialties, in the Medical Marijuana Data Management System, located online within the Department’s Health Commerce System (HCS). The patient’s treating practitioner can then make a referral if he or she is unable to complete the course and register.
4. How can I obtain a certification if my physician is not registered with the Medical Marijuana Program?
First, speak with your treating physician to determine if medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition. If your treating physician would like to register with the program, additional information can be found on the Department’s website: Practitioner Education for the Medical Marijuana Program.
5. Can additional medical conditions be added to the list of conditions eligible for medical marijuana?
Yes, the Commissioner of Health may add other conditions to the list. To date, scientists and physicians at the Department of Health have already analyzed more than 2 dozen scientific studies on Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rheumatoid arthritis. They also sought input from medical professionals and associations. Despite these comprehensive reviews, there is not enough scientific evidence at this time to support the inclusion of these additional conditions to the Medical Marijuana Program. However, the Commissioner has not stopped his review, and will evaluate new scientific evidence as soon as it becomes available. If sufficient scientific evidence becomes available to support the determination that medical marijuana will provide relief to patients suffering from any additional conditions, including these five, the Commissioner will act quickly to increase the list of covered conditions.
6. What forms and dosage amounts of medical marijuana are allowed?
The Commissioner must approve any form of medical marijuana. Approved forms include liquids and oil for vaporization or administration via inhaler as well as capsules to take orally. Under the law, smoking is not permitted
The practitioner must include the following information on the patient’s certification: the authorized brand and form of the approved medical marijuana, the administration method, and any limitations on the use of approved medical marijuana product. If a practitioner has a recommendation regarding dosage, it must be included on the certification, although a recommendation on dosage is not a requirement. Moreover, the total amount of product that can be dispensed may not exceed a thirty-day supply.
7. What do I do after I receive a certification from my registered physician?
Once you possess a certification from a registered physician, you must register with the Medical Marijuana program through DOH’s online Patient Registration System. You can find detailed instructions on the registration process, including how to register on behalf of a minor or an individual who is otherwise incapable of consenting to medical treatment, by visiting: Information for Patients
After your registration is processed, you will be issued a Registry Identification Card. Once you have received your registry identification card, you may visit a dispensing facility to obtain medical marijuana products. Dispensing facility locations can be found by clicking here: Registered Organizations
8. May I register on behalf of a minor or person who is otherwise incapable of consenting to medical treatment?
Yes. If the applicant for a registry identification card is under the age of eighteen (18) or a person who is otherwise incapable of consenting to medical treatment, the application must be submitted by an appropriate person over twenty-one (21) years of age. The applicant must designate at least one, and up to two, caregivers who must be among the following: (i) a parent or legal guardian of the certified patient; (ii) a person designated by a parent or legal guardian; or (iii) an appropriate person approved by the Department upon a sufficient showing that no parent or legal guardian is available or appropriate.
9. How do I register with the program as a caregiver?
A patient who is registered with the program must first designate you as a caregiver during the patient registration process. Upon approval of the patient’s registration, the caregiver(s) may register. The patient will have access to instructions for caregiver registration. To register with the Department as a designated caregiver, you must be a resident of New York State and have a valid NYS Driver’s License or New York State Non-Driver ID card.
10. Do I have to pay to register as a patient or as a caregiver?
Yes, there is a non-refundable application fee of fifty dollars ($50) that will be billed to you at a later date. The Department may waive or reduce the fee in cases of financial hardship.
Certified patients and designated caregivers seeking a waiver from the $50 registration fee due to financial hardship will be required to upload proof of Medicaid eligibility, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). A certified patient or designated caregiver seeking a waiver using other documentation must contact DOH and provide the other documentation to determine if it is acceptable proof of financial hardship.
11. When can I expect my registry identification card to arrive?
Once the application to register has been submitted successfully and approved, please allow approximately three business days to receive your Patient or Caregiver Registry ID Card. Once you have received your registry ID card you may visit a registered organization’s dispensing facility to obtain medical marijuana products. Dispensing facility locations can be found by clicking here: Registered Organizations
12. Can I still register if my physician will not provide a certification?
No, an individual may not register without a certification from a registered practitioner.