While recreational cannabis is now legal in New York, there are still some key advantages to having your medical card. Here are the top 10 reasons you should still consider getting a medical cannabis card!
Top 10 Reasons
1. Access to Higher Quality (Better) Products: Medical cannabis patients can access higher quality products than what's available in New York's recreational program. In November of last year, the OCM removed the pass/fail cutoffs for bacteria, yeast, and mold on recreational cannabis. This was done to help farmers sell products that couldn't meet the lab testing requirements.
Medical cannabis products still have to meet stringent testing requirements for bacteria, yeast, and mold. This means that medical cannabis products are likely "cleaner" and a bit safer than what's available in New York's recreational market.
2. Access to A Wider Array of Products: There are a ton of medical cannabis products available in New York's medical market! From flower to vapes, to RSO, chewable tablets, sublingual mints, capsules, lozenges, topical balms, suppositories, beverage enhancers, and oral sprays! And that's not even an exhaustive list! And remember these products are of the highest quality! For a complete list check out our guide to NY Medical cannabis.
3. Increased Purchase and Possession Limits: Medical patients in New York are allowed to possess and purchase up to a 60-day supply of medical cannabis at a time! A 60-day supply is somewhat open to interpretation (and determined by the patient's practitioner), but it is typically more than the 3 ounces of flower and 24 grams of concentrates that recreational consumers can purchase or possess at a given time.
This can help ensure you never run out of product and avoid frequent trips to the dispensary!
4. Lower Taxes: Medical patients in New York, pay lower tax rates on cannabis products (7% vs >13% for rec.) and can deduct their medical cannabis receipts on their state taxes as a healthcare-related expense! This greatly reduces costs compared to recreational cannabis!
5. Access to 'Medical-Only' Dispensaries: New York only allows registered organizations to convert 3 out of 4 of their medical dispensaries into adult-use dispensaries. This means there will be cannabis dispensaries that only serve medical patients. Because these dispensaries serve a limited population they will likely have shorter wait times and more products available with fewer products being sold out.
6. Allow A 'Caregiver' to Grow For You: New York medical patients can cultivate cannabis at home, providing a personalized and potentially cost-effective option. What's even cooler is that you can designate a 'caregiver' to grow for you! Caregivers must be 21 years of age or older and can grow up to 6 plants, 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants. There's also a per household maximum of twelve plants per household (6 mature plants and 6 immature plants).
7. Access to Medical Cannabis in Other States: Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. recognize medical marijuana cards from other states.
This allows you to access cannabis while traveling! Since not all states have legalized cannabis, it's important to know if the State you're traveling to honors your medical card and how they honor it. Some states only allow you to possess cannabis with an out-of-state medical card, and not purchase it, for example.
8. Lower Age Restrictions: You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase recreational cannabis in New York. Medical cannabis patients can be as young as 18 or even younger with parental consent. This provides access to medical cannabis products for children and young adults who can't access the recreational market until they're 21.
9. Employment Protection: Federal law prohibits commercial drivers and federal employees from using cannabis. Many other employers often have clauses in their employment contracts that provide grounds for termination if an employee tests positive on a drug screen for cannabis.
Obtaining a medical marijuana card can offer some protection! Just check out this story about a firefighter in Buffalo who lost his job and was rehired because he had his medical cannabis card!
10. Support the Medical Cannabis Market: Choosing medical cannabis helps support the medical cannabis market and ensures its continued growth and development. This is so important because many people accessing medical cannabis have serious and debilitating conditions that haven't responded to typical treatments.
Medical cannabis offers an alternative treatment option for patients who are suffering!
We'd be remiss if we did not mention at least some of the drawbacks that come with having a medical cannabis card. Federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug, limiting access for certain professions and potentially impacting firearm ownership rights. Medical cards typically require annual renewals which can cost about $150 per year.
Getting your medical card can also be time-consuming, but there are online solutions that make the process very easy!
Ultimately, the decision to obtain a medical marijuana card is a personal one. Weighing the potential benefits and drawbacks is crucial! If you're interested in obtaining your card online head over to our affiliate NuggMD and enter code "CANNABUFF20" for $20 off at checkout!