Published: Jul 18, 2022

How Long Does it Take to Get Your Medical Card?

In our latest question and answer, our medical cannabis pharmacist discusses how long it takes to get your medical card.

Answered by: Dr. Geoffrey Brown, PharmD

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Brad Asked

How long does it take to get your medical cannabis card in New York?

Summary

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Telemedicine provides an efficient way to get your medical card in as little as 15 minutes.

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The total time it takes to get your medical card from start to finish will depend on your healthcare practitioner and whether they send your documents to you right away or later on.

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You’ll need to register as a medical cannabis patient on my.ny.gov to finish the certification process. This should only take about 3-5 minutes.

Answer

Hi Brad and thanks for your question. Even though it is legal for adults to possess and consume cannabis now in NY, there are no legal means of obtaining “recreational” cannabis. However, if you’re interested in using cannabis therapeutically you may be able to obtain a medical card from a certified healthcare provider and purchase regulated cannabis products from one of NY’s licensed medical dispensing facilities. Some people forgo getting their medical card because they believe the process to be too difficult or time-consuming. However, thanks to telemedicine, getting your medical card has never been easier.

 

How does Telemedicine work for Medical Card Appointments?

Many practitioners certify patients via remote appointments where they speak to you face to face over zoom (or other platforms). These appointments can often be done right on your smartphone, are HIPAA compliant, and provide a fast and convenient way to obtain your medical card.

 

So How Long Does it Take from Start to Finish?

Every practitioner is different, but the process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. The total time it takes to get your medical card from start to finish will depend on your healthcare practitioner and whether they send your documents to you right away or later on. During your appointment, some practitioners will certify you “on the spot” meaning they will enter your information into the medical cannabis data management system, generate your certificate, and send it to you right away. Other practitioners won’t complete the entire process until after your appointment. In cases where you don’t receive your certificate right away, you’ll usually receive it via email within 24-36 hours. It really just depends on your practitioner, their preference, and availability. Some practitioners may want to spend time learning more about you and why you want to try medical cannabis. For instance, they might ask you some questions about what treatments you’ve tried in the past and how they worked for you. In the past, practitioners had to confirm that you had a qualifying condition, but due to recent changes in the medical program, practitioners have the liberty to certify you for any condition where they believe the drug will be beneficial.

How long does it take to “Register” your certification on my.ny.gov?

It’s important to note that after you’re certified you must register your certification on my.ny.gov. This usually takes an additional 3-5 minutes but can take even longer if you don’t have an account set up or if you can’t remember your login information. To find out more about how to register your certification read this guidance from the OCM. After you finish registering, a temporary card is generated that will allow you to gain entrance to a NYS dispensing facility. Be sure to bring your certificate with you to the dispensary in case the medical cannabis data management system is experiencing intermittent downtime. Currently, the system has been down for months but is scheduled to go back online on July 18th.

 

How do I find a telemedicine provider?

There are plenty of sites on the internet that can connect you with a practitioner that provides medical cannabis certification via remote appointments through telemedicine. CannaBuff’s preferred provider is nuggmd.com. Some others include fademd.com, hellomd.com, and leafwell.com.

 

How long does it take to receive your physical card in the mail?

According to the OCM’s website, you can expect to receive your physical “Registry ID Card” in the mail in 7 business days. In our personal experience it may take up to 10 days, but you can still visit a dispensing facility as long as you have your temporary card and certification document.

I hope this helps answer your question! Still confused? Ask us a question!

References

Office of Cannabis Management Launches New Certification & Registration System & Expands Program Eligibility (Link)

Summary of Medical Cannabis Data Management System Enhancements (Link)

Guidance for Healthcare Practitioners: Patient Certification Instructions (Link)

Medical Cannabis Program Frequently Asked Questions (Link)

Patient Registration Instructions (Link)

How to Get Your Medical Card in NY (Link)

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Dr. Geoffrey Brown, PharmD

Dr. Geoffrey Brown is a registered medical cannabis pharmacist in New York State and the founder of CannaBuff. He graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2018. His cannabis research has been featured by the national advocacy group NORML and local news organizations. Please feel free to reach out to him if you want to connect!

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