What the New York Cannabis Bill Means for MMJ Cardholders


Recent laws have been passed to make cannabis legal in another US state. The latest news on NY legalization is that Big Apple residents are no longer banned from recreational marijuana use. Wondering what the New York cannabis bill means for MMJ cardholders? Read all about it below.

What’s the new legal cannabis bill in New York?

On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalizes adult cannabis in New York State. This legislation also created a new Cannabis Management Bureau (OCM), led by a cannabis control body (made up of five members) that will help oversee and implement this new legislation.

The 2021 New York Legalization Bill provides for a unique regulatory agency to be established to oversee the licensing, cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale and taxation of cannabis in the state. The MRTA includes medical marijuana (MMJ), adult recreational use, and cannabinoid hemp.

Image by Ndispensable on Unsplash: A new law has been passed that will legalize recreational marijuana in New York state.

What does the new legalization bill mean for recreational users?

The bill says that the possession and use of up to three ounces of cannabis by anyone age 21 and older in New York state is now completely legal. The supply of recreational marijuana is also now legal. In the near future, some companies may open lounges (also known as consumption venues) where cannabis can be used legally. It also means that individuals can grow up to six marijuana plants at home (indoors or outdoors) for their personal use.

While these elements can take place immediately, most likely it will be a long time before other aspects of the MRTA occur. For example, officials now need to design the rules that control the market, including how the growth and retail markets work and how licensing will be set up. There are also likely to be regulations for the introduction of new recreational marijuana taxes. Tax revenue will most likely be millions of dollars; The legislator has determined that these sales revenues could be reinvested in minority communities. Another positive change could be the end of the racially disproportionate policing that has historically negatively impacted Black and Hispanic communities in terms of low marijuana charges.

When do pharmacies open in New York?

Some pharmacies are already open to medical marijuana patients, but it can take up to a year for the state to open recreational cannabis sellers. Once all regulations and sales opportunities are in place, experts estimate that there will be up to 1,000 retail stores in New York State where individuals can purchase legal cannabis. The MRTA also states that home delivery could be implemented once regulations are in place. This means that marijuana is much more accessible for both recreational and medicinal uses.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana in handImage by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash: MMJ cardholders have better access to the products they need while the bill is being processed.

How does the bill affect MMJ cardholders?

If you’ve read the NY Legalization News, you may be wondering how the MRTA is affecting MMJ users. There are currently several approved medical marijuana options (including capsules, tablets, dosing liquid, oil tinctures, vaping, and topical and transdermal patches). This new law allows the legalization of smoking marijuana, as well as other forms of cannabis. Food will also be among the options that are now legalized. This means that MMJ cardholders could have better access to the products they need to manage their symptoms.

However, since it will take at least a year to implement all of these changes, there may still be benefits for people to use medical marijuana versus recreational use. If people have a qualifying medical condition (which can range from glaucoma to anxiety), they can speak to their doctor about getting an MMJ card in New York. There are still benefits cardholders can get that the general public has not yet had. For example, it could take up to 18 months for recreational users to legally grow and grow marijuana plants at home – but the waiting time would be much shorter for MMJ users. MMJ cardholders also have the benefit of having access to pharmacies that are not yet open to the general public.

There will likely be a lot of changes in the use of medical and recreational marijuana over the next year. MMJ cardholders should research how to buy and use their MMJ products so that they always comply with the law. There are still regulations to be observed for recreational users (especially for the cultivation of cannabis for personal use). Stay tuned with the components of the MRTA to stay on the right side of the law and apply for an MMJ card if you have a qualifying illness.

Featured image by Colton Duke on Unsplash


Beth Edmonds