is weed legal in new york

Is Weed Legal In New York: Full Guide

Table of Contents

Even though marijuana remains illegal under Federal Law in the United States, state marijuana laws are ever changing. As of 2022, 37 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia permit the sale of marijuana for medicinal use while 18 of those states permit recreational use if you are over the age of 21. Medical marijuana has been legally available to New Yorkers through the States Medical Marijuana Program since July 2014 and recreationally legal since March 2021 making it the 15th state to officially join the cool kids club.

Here’s all you need to know about sparking one up in The Empire State!

Is Weed Legal in New York? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: Yes
  • Medical THC: Yes
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: Yes

Medical Weed Laws

The Compassionate Care Act, New York state’s Medical Marijuana Program became law in 2014 and came into effect January 2016. This allowed qualifying patients access to non-smoking forms of THC such as  liquids and oil for vaporization or administration via inhaler as well as oral capsules. The total amount of medical marjuana that can be dispensed may not exceed a 30 day supply. The first step in becoming a qualifying patient includes obtaining appropriate certification that the patient has been diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions listed below. After receiving a signed certification from a doctor the patient must apply for a registry ID card, which may be done online here. There is a $50 application fee, which may be waived if the patient can prove financial hardship. Patients under the age of 18 or a person who is incapable of consenting to medical treatment must have an appropriate person 21 years of age or older apply for a registry ID card.

Qualifying Medical Conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease 
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Neuropathy 
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pain that degrades health and functional capability 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Spinal cord injury with spasticity 
  • Substance-use disorder
  • Any of the following conditions where it is clinically associated with, or a complication of, any of the above conditions under their treatment: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe or persistent muscle spasms.
  • Any other condition certified by the medical practitioner 

The Health Department may add additional conditions to the list in the future. 

Recreational Weed Laws

On March 31st, 2021 New York passed SB 854-A, The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). The bill legalized purchasing, possessing, and transporting up to 3 ounces (85 grams) of weed and up to 24 grams of concentrate for adults 21 and older. It also put in place the Office of Cannabis Management to supervise all related matters such as medical, recreational, and hemp. 

Marijuana products may not be transported outside of New York.

Is Weed Decriminalized in New York?

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act established procedures for the automatic review and expungement of the criminal records of those with low-level cannabis convictions. Under the law, the smell of marijuana alone is no longer probable cause for search by law enforcement. Use of marijuana in public may be subject to civil penalties and will be handled as a violation of New York’s tobacco control laws.

Cannabinoid Variants FAQ

Hemp and Marijuana, What’s the difference? 

 The main difference between Hemp and Marijuana is their psychoactive component: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which causes the “high” we all know and possibly love. Hemp has 0.3% or less THC, making it non-psychoactive. 

Is CBD legal in New York?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products.

The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution.

Is Delta-8 legal in New York?

In May of 2021 New York officials issued new regulations which directly prohibit Delta-8 THC and other synthetic cannabinoid products derived from hemp. Unlike Delta-9 THC, the more common, natural form of tetrahydrocannabinol derived from marijuana plants, Delta-8 is not a natural derivative of cannabis. Delta-8 is produced by extracting CBD from industrial hemp then using acetic acid to turn it into THC. The legal status surrounding the cannabis industry and hemp-derived THC is new and constantly changing.

Is Delta-10 legal in New York?

Delta-10 THC is federally legal in the United States but is a gray area in New York. Just like Delta-8, Delta-10 is a synthetic cannabinoid product derived from hemp. As of now you can order Delta-10 THC in New York Online. In 2021 New York amended its laws to ban tetrahydrocannabinols like Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC because of their synthetic properties. Until its enactment, you can buy Delta-10 online.

Is THC-O legal in New York?

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Is HHC legal in New York?

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a hydrogenated form of THC. HHC occurs naturally in hemp but only in trace concentrations. To obtain a usable amount a process is performed to saturate THC with hydrogen atoms in the presence of high pressure and a catalyst like nickel or palladium technically making it a synthetic form of THC in the eyes of New York. Just like the others this is a gray area for New Yorkers since it is so new and laws are still being put in place and ever changing.

Is HHC-O legal in New York?

HHC-O-acetate is a very new hemp-derived cannabinoid. A derivative of HHC, HHC-O is the acetate version of HHC, a naturally occurring cannabinoid that acts as the hydrogen enhancement, well-known for its similarities to Delta-THC. HHC-O takes naturally occurring HHC and applies acetic anhydride to the compound in the same way that THC-O is created. Which again technically makes this a synthetic form of THC making it another gray area for New Yorkers.

Cultivation Laws

New Yorkers 21 years and older are allowed to grow up to six plants in their home for personal use (3 mature plants and 3 starter plants) and a maximum of twelve plants per household (6 mature plants and 6 starter plants), even if there are three or more adults over the age of 21 in the household. 

Be aware that home cultivation of cannabis plants is not allowed immediately. Pursuant to the MRTA, the home cultivation of cannabis plants may only be permitted after the Office of Cannabis Management issues regulations governing home cultivation of cannabis, which must be no later than 18 months after the first adult-use retail sale.

  • Cannabis plants must be kept in a secure place and not accessible to any person under 21.
  • Home cultivated cannabis cannot be sold to anyone and is only intended for personal use.
  • Please note, it is illegal to make cannabis hash oil or concentrate using substances like butane, propane, or alcohol with home grown cannabis.
  • Local municipalities may enact and enforce regulations relating to home cultivation of cannabis provided, no municipality may completely ban or prohibit home cultivation.  

Where to Buy Weed in New York


New York has passed new legislation so things are in flux but for now, certified patients can purchase medical cannabis from state-regulated organizations operating dispensaries throughout the state. Patients must bring their registry ID cards and certifications. Since things are in flux there are some unlicensed marijuana dispensaries popping up such as Street Lawyer Services that recreational users are able to purchase from. The shop says gifting model, in which someone purchases digital content and gets cannabis for free, which does not violate the law.


While medical marijuana delivery is legal in New York, recreational cannabis delivery is not currently legal. The state has released some basic guidelines on how the industry will operate. Businesses must acquire a delivery license in order to deliver cannabis in New York. 

New York Marijuana Deliveries 

Direct to Consumer

Direct to consumer sales is a way for patients to avoid dispensary lines and purchase straight from the producers and brands of their favorite cannabis products. Currently it is not legal in the state of New York to do so although the laws are ever changing. 

General FAQ

Where Can You Smoke Weed in New York? 

Due to New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act the easier question to answer is where can’t you smoke weed in New York? 

  • You cannot smoke or vape cannabis any place where smoking tobacco is not allowed
  • In New York City, you cannot smoke cannabis or tobacco in parks, at beaches, on boardwalks, or in pedestrian plazas and playgrounds
  • You cannot smoke cannabis in schools, workplaces, or cars.
  • Driving while impaired is still a crime

Unfortunately there’s more. Numerous cities and counties across the state have banned smoking in public parks and other locations. Syracuse banned smoking in city parks and public downtown areas like Clinton Square and Columbus Circle in 2014. The ban applies to marijuana as well. Smoking isn’t allowed in Onondaga County parks either.

Many areas in New York state parks are off-limits for smoking, whether it’s tobacco or marijuana. The list includes playgrounds, pools, beaches, pavilions, picnic shelters, boardwalks, outdoor dining areas, outdoor environmental education programming areas, public gardens and within 50 feet of buildings. 

You can smoke weed in any other area in state parks, as long as you’re following the rules outlined in the states marijuana law. You can also light up in a hotel room, although hotel owners are allowed to ban all smoking completely if they want.

Of course, you can smoke in a private home and in public spaces not covered by some other ban. If you’re a renter, a landlord can’t refuse to rent to you if you use weed, but they can ban marijuana use on their property.

Eventually, New York plans to license “consumption” lounges where people can smoke, eat, and hang out. Alcohol will not be permitted.

Reminder: Weed is still illegal under federal law, which means you cannot use it on federal lands, such as national parks and national forests, even if those lands are within New York. 

When was weed legalized in New York?

Medical marijuana has been legally available to New Yorkers through the States Medical Marijuana Program since July 2014 and recreationally legal since March 2021.

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

Penalties vary depending on the amount of weed. For example, selling 25g is a misdemeanor with up to 1 year jail time and $1,000 in fines. Trafficking any amount is a felony which could be 15-25 years and up to $100,000 in fines. It is however lawful to possess, display, purchase, obtain, or transport up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24g of concentrated cannabis.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

Penal Law 220.48 – Sale of any amount of Concentrated Cannabis by a person 21 years old or more to a person 17 years old or younger is a class B felony subject to no more than 25 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $30,000.

What is possession with the intent to sell and is it a crime?

New York State Law 220.16 – Possession of 25g or more with intent to sell is New York State’s version of intent to distribute. This crime, a class B felony punishable as a first offense of between 1-9 years in prison.

For a complete break down of penalties in New York click here.

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