Learn more about marijuana in New York
In 1927, New York State banned cannabis outright, along with Idaho, Kansas, Montana and Nebraska that year. A decade later, in 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act banned marijuana nationwide on a technicality: all cannabis sales were to be taxed, but the stamps used to pay the tax made it illegal to possess marijuana but not the stamps, which would very quickly earn anyone attempting to buy the tax stamps a visit from local authorities.
While the Marihuana Tax Act still allowed the medicinal use of cannabis under increasingly restrictive regulations, Congress did away with all medical marijuana, and any other marijuana use, with the Controlled Substances act of 1970, which prohibited the drug nationwide.
Back in New York, marijuana laws would shortly become the nation's toughest yet.
On May 8, 1973, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed a bill that increased penalties for the possession and sale of marijuana and other drugs following sweeping anxieties against issues raised by the counterculture movement of the 1960s. The new law, which could earn a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison for the sale of just two ounces and the possession of just four ounces of marijuana, gave New York State the most punitive drug laws in the country.
Is Marijuana Legal in New York?▼
Where Can I Consume Marijuana in New York?▼
New York specifically prohibits medical cardholders from smoking marijuana.
Cardholders are prohibited from vaporizing (but not eating or drinking) marijuana products anywhere that may be defined as public. Here is a list of where a registered cardholder currently cannot vaporize:
- Your place of employment
- Bars & restaurants
- Indoor public pools
- The bus, subway, and any other public transportation, including the waiting area
- Detention centers, care facilities, group homes, and medical centers for children and youth
- On any college or university campus or property
- In hospitals or healthcare facilities (with exceptions for residential care facilities)
- In the zoo
- At bingo
- In an indoor arena
- Within 100 feet of a public school entrance, exit, or any outdoor area unless you are inside a residence.
The consumption of any marijuana product in a motor vehicle is prohibited, even if the vehicle is on private roads, including any parking lot.
The state also prohibits any consumption at a medical marijuana manufacturing or dispensing center.
How Do I Get a Job in the New York Marijuana Industry?▼
Adults age 21 and older may apply to the Department of Health to receive an identification card, certifying your ability to dispense marijuana products. Candidates who have been convicted of any felony-level drug offense cannot apply for marijuana jobs in New York.
Is Drug Testing for Marijuana Legal in New York?▼
Drug testing is not mandated by the state but can be used to determine employment. The federal prohibition of marijuana puts many employers at risk of violating the Drug-Free Workplace Act if a cardholder is hurt on the job while medicating. The Compassionate Care Act prohibits the use of medical marijuana at any place of employment.
Is Delivery of Marijuana Legal in New York?▼
In late 2016, the Department of Health recommended legislation that would provide better cardholder access through direct-to-cardholder delivery.
How Do I Pay for Marijuana in New York Dispensaries?▼
Dispensing centers around the state take payment in cash, a financial holdover from the continued illegal federal designation. U.S. senators are currently working to reconcile the situation.