Marijuana recently became legal in New York State. Now, The Office of Cannabis Management has released new updates to its medical cannabis program. This includes the ability for its medical patients to grow medical marijuana. As of October 5th, 2022 the program will allow certified medical marijuana patients and designated caregivers to cultivate (grow) their own plants at home. Through the NYS Medical Homegrow Program, only certified medical marijuana patients in New York will be allowed to grow cannabis at home until 18 months after the first retail sale of cannabis for NY residents 21 years or older.
A certified medical marijuana patient is someone who has received a certification from a New York health care provider to use medical cannabis to treat a health condition. A designated caregiver is someone who provides care to patients who are either under 21 or have physical and cognitive impairments keeping them from being able to cultivate (grow) cannabis on their own.
So, even though cannabis is legal recreationally in New York, medical patients are the only residents that are able to cultivate (grow) cannabis at home.
Without your medical marijuana card, you will not have the ability to cultivate (grow) your own plants.
In this article we provide a breakdown of how the program works, rules and regulations, and some safety tips for medical home cultivating.
What’s the New Program in New York State?
As of October 5th, 2022, medical cannabis patients can begin to cultivate (grow) their own cannabis at home. The NYS Medical Homegrow Program allows a certain number of cannabis plants to be grown by a patient or caregiver.
Keep in mind that even with a medical marijuana recommendation, one cannot grow cannabis in a federally funded or recognized public housing facility. This could result in your loss of housing support!
Who Can Participate in the NYS Medical Homegrow Program?
New York allows its residents to become patients at 18. With the oversight of a legal guardian or caregiver, a resident can get a medical recommendation under the age of 18 (with approval from a licensed physician). However, New York Residents must be 21 years or older in order to grow their own cannabis, medical or recreational or to purchase cannabis plants. Patients under 18 can only grow medical cannabis through a designated caregiver who is 21 years or older. Individuals with cognitive impairments that prevent them from growing their own marijuana can also have a caregiver grow it for them.
How Many Plants Can Medical Patients Grow?
According to the statement released by the Cannabis Control Board, “under approved regulations, certified patients or designated caregivers will be allowed to grow up to three mature and three immature cannabis plants at one time. If a designated caregiver is growing for multiple patients, they can grow up to six mature and six immature plants at one residence.” In general, the program permits 6 plants individually or no more than 12 per household.
The number of plants you can grow is dependent on whether you’re growing for yourself or as a caregiver. It’s important to note that you can be a caregiver as a medical cardholder yourself. Even though a caregiver can grow for up to four certified patients, they cannot grow more than twelve cannabis plants. Also keep in mind, a patient and their caregiver also cannot both cultivate (grow) medical cannabis for the patient’s use. Only one person can grow on behalf of a patient.
What If More Than One Patient Lives There?
If you live in a household with more than one medical cardholder or caregiver, the numbers don’t change. The maximum number of plants you can have in one household is six mature and six immature plants.
Immature VS Mature Cannabis Plants?
An “immature cannabis plant” is defined as a non-flowering female cannabis plant or a cannabis plant which does not have buds that may be observed by visual examination.
A “mature” cannabis plant” means a female plant that has flowered and that has buds that are observed by visual examination.
Only female plants count towards the plant limits. If your seeds produce a male plant, you can grow an another immature plant to replace it.
Can a Patient or Caregiver Sell Cannabis?
While you can grow your own cannabis as a certified medical marijuana patient, you cannot sell or trade it. This includes the seeds, immature and mature cannabis plants, or cannabis. However, you can gift cannabis. Up to three ounces of flower and up to twenty-four grams of cannabis concentrate can be gifted to another patient or caregiver. As long as money, goods, or services aren’t exchanged, this is considered a gift. Cannabis cannot be up for sale even if the certified patient no longer needs nor wants the cannabis grown.
Designated caregiver’s cannot receive reimbursement for their time, knowledge, or expertise for cultivating (growing) cannabis. They may receive reimbursement for the actual cost of goods, materials, or utilities used to grow the plant for which they have incurred expenses.
A certified patient or caregiver may lawfully possess up to five pounds of homegrown cannabis at their residence but are only legally allowed to carry up to 3 ounces of flowered cannabis outside of their residence.
Growing Cannabis at Home
You can grow cannabis indoors or outdoors at home. However, there are a few regulations to be mindful of. The law states you must cultivate (grow) on a private residence. This is defined as “any building or part of a building, or structure designed and occupied for residential purposes only.” Rental properties or second homes are not suitable for use to cultivate (grow) cannabis.
First, your cannabis cannot be in public view and must be in a secure location. This means you need to enclose it behind doors, fences, gates, or other barriers. It must be grown in a non-shared space and inaccessible to anyone under the age of 21.
You can also clone your own plants at home to make additional plants. Remember, even when you clone your plants, you can’t exceed the total number of plants allowed per household.
Renting Your Home and Medical Cannabis
If you rent your home, you can still cultivate (grow) medical cannabis unless your lease states otherwise. Landlords are able to disallow the use of medical cannabis within the lease if it would cause them to lose federal benefits or authorizations.
If your lease has a smoke free policy, the landlord can prohibit you from smoking cannabis on the premises. This does not allow the landlord to prohibit cultivating (growing) cannabis.
Cannabis plants naturally produce a scent. While it can be strong, it is not toxic or harmful to your health. It is important to be mindful of the scent of the plants while growing, and the scent attracting unwanted attention from neighbors or animals.
Where Can You Purchase Immature Plants or Seeds to Grow?
New York state medical cardholders can purchase immature plants from a registered organization or licensed entity authorized by the Office of Cannabis Management.
When you purchase the plant, you’ll be provided with a safety insert. This insert will include information about the strain, potency, and other state issued information about the product. You’ll also receive basic information about the care of a cannabis plant.
Home Grow Safety Tips
Cultivating (growing) cannabis can be tricky but very rewarding. Be sure to keep in mind a few safety tips to prevent anything from happening awry.
First, be sure to keep people under 21 and pets safe. Keep your harvested cannabis in a secure, locked container, away from sight and reach. Although cannabis is not deadly to pets, it can leave your furry friend feeling bad and leaving you with an expensive bill to the vet.
The process of cultivating (growing) cannabis plants indoors requires a lot of energy and can overload electrical circuits or potentially cause a fire. Consider using LED lights and consult your electrician if possible.
Avoid using flammable materials such as propane and butane as this is not legal or safe. To make concentrates legally and safely, consider using extraction methods like heat or pressure.
If you choose to use your cannabis for edibles, be aware that cannabis infused beverages or baked goods can be challenging to properly distribute. This means that the cannabis product may not have an even and equal dose throughout a product. Take caution while consuming homemade edibles, especially if you are new to using cannabis.
Be sure to keep your area clean, uncrowded, and well ventilated. If the area lacks proper ventilation, you could have a problem with mold/fungus. Moldy or fungus infested cannabis is not safe to consume. Use a dehumidifier, a humidity monitor, and fans to ensure proper ventilation. Limit your use of pesticides and follow guidance on the safe use of pesticides if you choose to use them.
Apply for an NYS Medical Marijuana Card Today
Even though marijuana is legal recreationally in New York, to participate in the NYS Medical Homegrow Program, you must obtain a certified medical marijuana recommendation by a licensed New York Physician.
If you’re looking to get your medical marijuana card, PrestoDoctor makes the process easy by offering same-day appointments with verified cannabis doctors. Our platform allows you to meet with a doctor online and never leave the comfort of your home.
Start the process today by creating an account and scheduling your appointment.
For more information about the NYS Medical Homegrow Program, visit the Office of Cannabis Management.
Email the office at [email protected] or call 1-888-626-5151.Get Your Card Now