New York has very progressive laws around cannabis. Medical marijuana patients have been using the courtesy of the New York Compassionate Care Act since its release in 2014. But recently, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo opened the doors for recreational cannabis with the decriminalization act.
It’s definitely a big step forward for the advocates of legalization. With marijuana possession no longer being a crime but a minor misdemeanor, New Yorkers can welcome cannabis as something normal — not a plant that makes you a criminal.
But can you buy weed in New York City if you’re not a medical marijuana patient? What happens when you get caught with weed by a police officer?
Continue our guide to buying weed in the Big Apple to find out.
Is Weed Legal in New York City?
It depends on which type of cannabis you’re referring to.
Medical marijuana has been legal in New York since the introduction of the Compassionate Care Act in 2014, so if you have a medical cannabis card or a recommendation from your doctor, you can purchase your medicine from one of the state-licensed dispensaries.
Despite recent decriminalization, adult use of cannabis remains illegal, so you can’t openly smoke in public, buy marijuana from a retail store, or manufacture your own products with an intent to sell.
Let’s take a closer look at both medical and recreational weed laws in New York City.
Medical Marijuana Laws in NYC
The current law permits qualified patients to apply for a medical marijuana card and obtain cannabis and non-smokable cannabis products from one of New York City’s licensed medical dispensaries.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Acute pain management
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Chronic pain
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Opioid addiction and withdrawals
- Spinal cord damage
Patients and their designated caregivers can possess a 30-day supply of cannabis-infused products. This means that you can only buy weed vapes, edibles, tinctures, capsules, and other consumables that don’t include combusting the herb. Registered organizations are allowed to produce and distribute additional products such as lotions, ointments, patches, as well as solid and semi-solid products including tablets and lozenges.
There are currently 20 operational dispensaries. In 2017, the Department of Health registered five additional facilities to manufacture and sell medical cannabis products.
Patients aren’t allowed to grow their own plants, although there’s an estimated number of 98,101 registered medical marijuana users in New York.
Recreational Weed Laws
New York has recently passed new legislation that has decriminalized the possession and consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes. This means that you will no longer face the risk of being put in jail as long as you’re carrying less than two ounces of weed.
Possession of fewer than two ounces of marijuana is considered a violation, not a crime. Penalties for possession vary between $50 and $200 depending on the amount of weed you’re caught with.
Another good thing about the recreational weed laws in New York is that most past convictions for marijuana possession of 25 grams or less will automatically be expunged.
Nevertheless, it’s still illegal to smoke weed in public, nor does New York City allow for cultivation and retail distribution of marijuana. Selling weed to anyone is a crime, just as growing your own plants.
The only way to legally buy weed in New York City is to become a medical marijuana patient.
Speaking of which, let’s shed some light on the dos and don’ts of buying weed in New York.
Things to Know Before You Start Looking for Weed in NYC
- The only way to buy legal weed in New York is to have a valid medical marijuana ID card and purchase your medicine from one of the state-licensed dispensaries.
- New York only allows non-smokable forms of cannabis, meaning you can’t buy dried flowers in a dispensary. You can, however, buy extracts, CBD oil, vapes, tinctures, and topicals.
- Your ID card will be verified before you can enter the medical dispensary
- Bringing weed out of New York is illegal, even if the other state allows for medical/recreational use of marijuana.
- Marijuana consumption is limited to private properties.
- Use WeedMaps or other online databases to find the best medical marijuana dispensaries near you.
Where to Buy Weed in New York City
Wondering where to buy weed in New York City? Here we put together everything we know about how New Yorkers usually purchase marijuana in the Big Apple:
Buying Weed as a Medical Marijuana Patient
Being a medical marijuana patient means that you won’t even face a fine for being caught with weed because it’s your medicine. By law, you’re not doing anything illegal; you’re just using cannabis treatment.
If you want to buy weed in New York City, you’ll need to be 21 or older and have a valid medical cannabis ID or a doctor’s recommendation. Most of the time, you’ll need to shop for weed locally, as medical dispensaries in New York don’t offer delivery services.
Best Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in NYC
In this section, we cover the best medical marijuana dispensaries to buy weed from in New York City.
|MedMen||433 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016|
|Etain Health||142 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016|
|Columbia Care||212 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003|
|PharmaCannis||405 Hunts Point Ave, The Bronx, NY 10474|
|Vireo Health||89-55 Queens Blvd, Flushing, NY 11373|
MedMen is a medical marijuana dispensary chain with a few locations in Los Angeles and one in New York. MedMen has quickly become known for its top-shelf quality medical marijuana and for unparalleled expertise in the field of natural medicine. The place is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday to Sunday, so you can stop by whenever you deem convenient.
2. Etain Health
Being a patient in Murray Hill means that you have access to some of the finest quality medical cannabis products in New York. Owned by women, Etain offers medical marijuana users clean, safe, and consistent marijuana goods, not to mention their knowledgeable and kind staff.
3. Columbia Care
Columbia Care has three locations in New York, one of them being qat 212 East 14th Street. This dispensary features wide halls, cozy sofas, amazing plants, and beautiful pieces of art. The place also has spacious restrooms and wheelchair accessibility. Columbia Care offers not only a wide product selection but also friendly, attentive, and well-educated staff. The dispensary is open on Monday between 11 AM and 3 PM, or on Thursday between 11 AM and 7 PM.
PharmaCannis is a dispensary dedicated to professionalism, compassion, privacy, and security. The place provides patients and caregivers with high-quality products at reasonable prices, adding impeccable service to the whole package. If you’re looking for a clean, safe, and peaceful location to purchase your medicine from, you can pay a visit to PharmaCannis from Tuesday to Friday.
5. Vireo Health
This medical dispensary was founded by an emergency medicine physician, Kyle Kingsley MD, who saw first hand what opioid abuse does to people. Now known for being a doctor-led company, Vireo Health is dedicated to helping New York medical marijuana patients get access to top-notch cannabis products and high-quality patient care.
Where to Buy Weed as a Recreational Consumer
Please note that this section is purely informative. We don’t encourage any illegal activities at WeBeHigh.com.
Weed has been decriminalized in New York, but the irony is that you can’t buy it there — or even grow your own plants.
This means that the only way to obtain cannabis flower in New York City is to find a dealer near you. If you live in New York, the easiest way to find a weed dealer is to ask friends you usually smoke with. Or, at least, you know that they smoke. After all, they must get their stash from somewhere.
If that doesn’t help, try visiting typical stoner locations, such as parks, playgrounds, squares, and skateparks. Sometimes, all it takes is a short walk down an alley to smell the weed and spot the carrier with your green radar.
Online communities are often the best places to buy weed in New York City. The Internet is full of forums, chats, subreddits, and other channels about marijuana. A few honest conversations and some networking can bare enough fruits to make nice connections and get yourself a trusted supplier.
Many recreational weed smokers in New York City use delivery services through encrypted messengers such as WhatsApp, Wickr Me, or Privnote. Etiquette typically suggests that you propose a “hang out” with your vendor, just to remain low-profile.
Where do you buy weed in New York City? Give us a shout in the comments!