Questions about New York’s Medical Marijuana Program?

Patient Education Facilitator
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 9:22am

In 2015, New York State (NYS) became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana, and the program continues to grow. People can register with the program if they have a qualifying condition, such as cancer, and are having severe symptoms such as cachexia (weakness, muscle wasting, loss of appetite or weight), chronic pain, nausea, seizures or muscle spasms. In March 2017, chronic pain itself became a qualifying condition. Since then, the number of certified patients has increased by 77 percent, to more than 26,000.

Patients must be certified for the program by a practitioner who has completed a course approved by the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) and registered with NYSDOH.

How Does it Work?

  1. Qualify. Talk to your practitioner about whether you qualify. Cancer is a qualifying condition with any of the severe symptoms listed above. See the full list of qualifying conditions.
  2. Get Certified. Roswell Park’s Supportive & Palliative Care Program has multiple registered providers (see the full list of registered practitioners in New York). We will ask for your photo ID, such as a New York State driver’s license, and make a copy for our records. We will enter your personal information on the NYS Department of Health website to certify you, and then give you the paper certification document.
  3. Get an ID. Once certified, go online to NYSDOH for an ID card. You will need the certificate your MD or NP gave you and proof of identity (such as driver’s license). The system will provide you with a temporary ID card. (You can also register by phone, but it will take longer.)  During registration, you may list one or two caregivers who could be authorized to get, possess, and administer the medical marijuana on your behalf. These caregivers must also register and get an ID card. (As of April 2018, the NYS Department of Health has waived the 50% activation fee for all patients and their designated caregivers.)
  4. Get Your Product. With your ID card and the certificate from your MD or NP, go to a registered dispensing facility and buy medical-grade marijuana products. Registered organizations must meet high product-quality standards set by New York State, including verification of the levels of active ingredients (THC and CBD) and screening for contaminants and pesticides.

The prescribing clinic will monitor you periodically while you are on the drug. It is expected you will obtain the drug from the dispensary — this will be verified by the certifying provider on the NYS Prescription Monitoring Program website.

Roswell Park’s medical marijuana policy addresses the needs and concerns of patients, caregivers and practitioners who are registered with the NYS Medical Marijuana Program and the Roswell Park staff. A few noteworthy specifics:

  • Roswell Park’s no-smoking policy includes e-cigarettes, so inhaled or vaporized marijuana products cannot be used on the hospital’s grounds.
  • Patients using medical marijuana will need to sign a waiver and release-of-liability form that states, among other things, that they or their caregivers have a valid registry ID from NYS and will self-administer the products.
  • If your medical marijuana product comes from another state, it is not legal in New York, even if it is legal in your home state.
  • The policy also outlines the procedures that Roswell Park staff need to follow when a patient registered in the NYS Medical Marijuana Program, wishes to self-administer their legally obtained medical marijuana products while as an inpatient. The expectation is that self-administration is the responsibility of the registered patient or caregiver, not the nursing staff.

Helpful Resources

If you still have questions, contact the NYS Medical Marijuana Program at 866-811-7957 or email mmp@health.ny.gov

Legal Medical Marijuana Products in NYS (Must be purchased at registered dispensing facility.)

Note: Each dispensary will have their own products. Please contact them directly to learn more.  Each registered dispensary must have at least one product that is equal amounts of THC and CBD, and one with a low THC/high CBD ratio.

  • Vape cartridge/Pen: Liquids/oils inhaled using a vaporizer (Use not permitted on Roswell Park campus.)
  • Capsules and tablets taken by mouth
  • Oral Powder
  • Liquids or oils that are placed in the mouth or used topically (on the skin)

Please note: smoking medical marijuana and edibles are not allowed in NY State.