While Stable Garden currently helps people cultivate cannabis in Massachusetts, New Yorkers with medical cards will soon be allowed as well.
Attorney David Holland is a marijuana activist and executive director of Empire State Norml.
The Cannabis Control Board advanced regulations Thursday allowing medical cannabis to be grown at home. After a 60-day comment period, the board can make changes and then it will go into effect. It’s expected to make cannabis more affordable.
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“Cost wise, cannabis can fetch prices of up to $400 an ounce. And if you can grow cannabis in the backyard for pennies an ounce then you are really saving a lot of money,” McGuire said.
As New York’s new marijuana laws begin to go into effect, medical card holders will soon have much greater access.
“It is something that I find relieves a lot of symptoms of anxiety and depression,” Chappaqua resident Michael McGuire said. He is a medical marijuana card holder and the founder of Stable Garden, a company that helps people grow cannabis at home.
Recreational growing and sales are still months away in New York.
In New York, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against medical marijuana patients. But Alexander said an apartment lease can have home growing restrictions.
Both indoor and outdoor growing will be allowed. Cannabis plants usually smell when they are ready to be harvested. According to experts, filtration devices can help with that.
“They will be able to grow up to six plants for their own personal use. Three which will be full grown, three in their immature stages, not flowering yet,” he said.
There will be rules in place once people are allowed to grow at home. According to the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, plants should not be accessible to anyone under the age of 21. And growers should keep plants secure and out of public view.
New York State Office of Cannabis Management executive director Chris Alexander said Thursday, “The unlicensed sale or trading of cannabis is prohibited in New York and home grow is not a license to do either.”
New Yorkers with medical marijuana cards are only a few months away from being able to cultivate cannabis at home.
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Medical marijuana has been legal in The Empire State since 2014, but it hasn’t always been easy to access. Patients in New York have to be approved by a medical professional and must acquire their marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Those products can be expensive and aren’t typically covered by insurance. One company, Vireo Health, recommends patients bring between $100 and $350 on their first visit to a dispensary.
This is the first major step taken by the Cannabis Control Board to put the provisions of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act into action. The law, which also legalized recreational marijuana in New York, passed in March. It included permission for home cultivation of medical marijuana but only after the board put regulations in place.
The proposal, now open to public comment for 60 days, would permit the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants in a private residence. The regulation will take effect after the commentary period closes and the board finalizes its language.
"I applaud Governor [Kathy] Hochul, the Cannabis Control Board and the entire team at the Office of Cannabis Management for swiftly addressing this long-standing issue for certified patients and their caregivers,” State Senator Diane Savino said in a statement on the new regulations.
New York’s Cannabis Control Board issued regulations Thursday to allow medical marijuana users and their caregivers to grow their own supply at home.
The board had six months to issue those rules, but former Gov. Andrew Cuomo never appointed its members during his tenure and that deadline passed.
Hochul was quick to assemble the Cannabis Control Board upon taking office in August. It held its second meeting on Thursday.
“Thanks to the quick action by Governor Hochul and the Legislature in appointing the Board and agency leadership, we are moving full-steam ahead and look forward to continuing to expand the medical program and building a new industry that will operate safely and deliver opportunity to the communities most harmed by the war on drugs,” Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said in a statement on Thursday’s vote to approve the medical marijuana regulations.
The process has been slow moving, but now that Gov. Kathy Hochul has made key appointments to the agency, things are starting to fall into place.
“If you haven’t used cannabis before or it has been a while, it’s good to start low and go slow,” the automated voice said.
New York’s new marijuana law, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, allows for medical marijuana patients to start growing plants at home six months after the bill is signed and after the Office of Cannabis Management issues regulations.
“They say you’re not supposed to see how the sausage is made, but I think this time it really is important,” Sen. Savino said. “We’re creating a new industry and an industry that affects three different areas of cannabis, not just adult use and how it’s going to be developed in New York State. We have an opportunity to really lead in this country, where other states have not.”
Why? They’re still getting set up.
“We may not be exactly on time, but we’re not that far behind,” Sen. Savino said. “I fully anticipate that we will be catching up to speed and exceeding everybody’s goals and hopes.”
It will eventually be up to this agency to create regulations and issue licenses. Before, it was the Department of Health that oversaw the medical marijuana program.
The Office of Cannabis Management now has a working number set up on its website. An automated voice explains the new law and offers first time marijuana users advice.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Dr. Dahmer said. “We are ready to begin construction on a 200,000-square-foot expansion to our cultivation processing plant in Johnston, New York, where we have amazing team ready to support New Yorkers that are added to this program and participate in this program. So we’re ready for some traction.”
The Cannabis Control Board plans to meet for the first time publicly on Oct. 5.
State Sen. Diane Savino, who has led the way on medical marijuana program, said she is not too concerned right now.
Once fully implemented, the expanded medical marijuana program will eventually allow for the sale of whole flower, allow for delivery services and add new qualifying conditions.
Well, it has now been six months, but the Office of Cannabis Management still has not released these regulations.
The new Office of Cannabis Management and its governing body, the Cannabis Control Board, will now be overseeing both the recreational and medical marijuana programs.
Dr. Stephen Dahmer, chief medical officer of Goodness Growth Holdings, Vireo Health, one of the first companies to offer medical marijuana to patients in New York, said they are eager to see the industry expand and are preparing to be an integral part of the growing medical marijuana program.
Right now, it seems that medical marijuana patients will have to wait until at least Tuesday, when the Cannabis Control Board meets, for further clarification on when they can start growing plants at home.