Medical Marijuana Edibles In New York
Are medical marijuana edibles legal in the state of New York? In this post, we’ll not only discuss the legalities of edibles in New York but also inform readers about alternatives to edibles that provide essentially the same effects.
In 2014 the great state of New York legalized medical marijuana for patients suffering from specific qualifying conditions. To date, the number of New York medical marijuana cards issued has grown to around 130,000.
Once a patient has obtained a medical marijuana card, they can purchase approved products from any of the state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in New York.
The specific focus of this article is the status of marijuana edibles in New York. So, let’s unpack that starting with why a medical marijuana patient or recreational user might choose to use edibles over other delivery methods.
Why use marijuana edibles?
When used properly and not abused, edibles provide numerous benefits — not the least of which is saving your heart and lungs from the dangers of smoking and vaping.
Edibles provide long-lasting, systemic effects. Baked edibles, or candy edibles when taken with a meal, must traverse the entire digestive system. They take longer to reach full effect when consumed with a meal, but they also provide longer-lasting benefits.
Moreover, the effects of edibles are systemic, meaning they circulate throughout the entire body. As such, edibles are beneficial for those suffering from systemic issues such as ongoing depression, stress, or anxiety, as well as inflammation, chronic pain, and sleeplessness.
Edibles are ideal for treating digestive issues. Recent research has shown that edibles contribute to a healthy gut biome. Because of the powerful gut/brain connection, edibles have been shown to improve mood and overall health.
Additionally, patients with auto-immune disorders that affect the intestines such as Crohn’s disease, as well as conditions such as ulcers, IBS, IBD, and colitis often report a significant reduction of inflammation after consuming edibles.
Are Medical Marijuana Edibles Legal In New York?
The bad news is that at this time marijuana edibles are prohibited in New York. The good news is that other options are available that offer pretty much the same effects as edibles.
The New York Department of Health only allows the sale and consumption of marijuana-infused capsules, liquids, spray, transdermal patches, oils, and vaporizer products — the keywords here being capsules, liquids, and oils. All three of these cannabis-infused products can be used in the same way as edibles simply by adding them to or taking them with food.
According to regulators, the prohibitive stance against edibles is due to the fact that edibles can easily be accidentally abused. Because edible products take a considerable amount of time to take effect, patients may take a second dose before the first one fully kicks in causing excessive intoxication.
In fact, in states where edibles are legal, there has been a rise in emergency room visits from accidental overdosing on edibles. Many of these cases are children who inadvertently mistake cannabis edibles for candy. This problem is far less common with other delivery methods.
Can New York Medical Marijuana Patients Make Their Own Edibles?
It’s not difficult to make edibles using the oils and concentrates that are currently available at New York dispensaries. These products can easily be added to an infinite variety of recipes.
However, making edibles at home is akin to producing and possessing a prohibited marijuana product. Thankfully, marijuana has been decriminalized in the state. As such making edibles at home will most likely not land the patient in jail. However, the patient may be subject to a fine if they’re ever actually caught.
Can Medical Marijuana Capsules Be Used Like Edibles?
Even though cannabis-infused candies and baked goods are prohibited in NY, the fact is that capsules work just as well as edibles.
As with cannabis-infused candy, capsules melt quickly delivering their entire contents to the stomach. To get the same effects as baked edibles, patients can simply take their capsules with a meal.
Most patients will feel no difference in effects when using capsules instead of edibles. Capsules are also a better choice for patients who are trying to limit the intake of sugars and carbs.
What About CBD Edibles?
Hemp-derived CBD edibles offer many of the same health benefits as marijuana edibles, but without the intoxicating effects. Moreover, CBD edibles can be purchased without a medical marijuana card in New York.
Although current FDA rules prohibit the addition of non-intoxicating cannabinoids such as CBD to food products, CBD edibles are nonetheless relatively easy to find in New York state. Moreover, anyone can purchase CBD edibles online.
When Will New York Legalize Marijuana Edibles?
Although marijuana legalization is coming, the jury is still out on the sale of edible marijuana products for recreational use. The current rules shaping up ban allow marijuana edibles in NY, however prevent the sale of edibles that resemble candy, such as the examples on this page.
How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card In New York
You may be eligible for medical marijuana in New York if you have been diagnosed with one or more of these severe, debilitating, or life-threatening conditions:
- HIV infection or AIDS
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Spinal cord injury with spasticity
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Huntington’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Pain that degrades health and functional capability as an alternative to opioid use or substance use disorder
Aside from PTSD, at least one of the associated symptoms listed below must accompany the debilitating condition to make a patient qualify for a license. These symptoms include:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
The first step in the process of obtaining a New York medical marijuana card is to meet with a state-certified medical marijuana practitioner to discuss whether medical marijuana can help treat the patient’s condition.
Once a patient receives a certification from the doctor they can register with the Medical Marijuana program through the Department’s online Patient Registration System. Within seven days of registering, the patient will be issued a Temporary Registry Identification Card. In order to use this temporary card, the patient needs to present a driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification card at time of purchase.
Where To Buy Medical Marijuana In New York State
Once a patient is certified, and has received their temporary medical marijuana card, they are allowed to purchase medical marijuana products from New York dispensaries. If a patient is unable to access a dispensary, they may designate a caregiver to obtain medical marijuana on their behalf. Dispensaries are also allowed to offer delivery service.
Under the Compassionate Care Act, qualifying patients are limited to possess and purchase a 30-day supply of medical marijuana products at one time. The quantity of marijuana products is based on recommendations from a licensed physician. The physician’s recommendation must also include the authorized brand and form of medical marijuana in addition to the delivery method.
However, keep in mind that not all dispensaries carry all products or even the same products, so it’s important to contact your local dispensary before you pay them a visit.
Sources and additional reading
- New York State Medical Marijuana Program website
- Frequently Asked Questions – Medical Marijuana Program
- NORML – New York Medical Marijuana Law
- Bill Search and Legislative Information
- New York is finally expected to legalize cannabis in 2021 as Gov. Cuomo goes all in
- New York Likely First State to Legalize Marijuana in 2021