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Laws in New York: Is It Legal to Grow Cannabis in NY?

In 2021, New York ushered in the era of legalized recreational cannabis. As the law details and markets are still in the germination period, the recent distribution of the first dispensary licenses promises significant changes in the Big Apple.

Some growers are eager to know if they can grow weed at home in NY at this moment and, if so, how many plants are allowed. Others are also interested in locating nearby legal dispensaries offering high-quality cannabis.

This guide aims to explore the latest legal status of cannabis in New York State. Curious about the regulations in other states? We've made a map of states where weed is legal across the US. Take a look!

Is Cannabis Legal in New York?

Minimum Age

It’s illegal for anyone under 21 to possess cannabis in New York. New Yorkers aged 21 and older can legally possess, use, buy, transport, smoke, or consume up to 3 ounces of marijuana, 24 grams of concentrated cannabis, and 5 ounces of flowers if stored at home (visit our guide on weed measurements for a deeper understanding of common weight metrics).

Limits on Concentrated Cannabis Possession & Sale

limits on concentrated cannabis possession in ne york

Exceeding the allowed limit for concentrated cannabis entails various penalties and offenses:

  • More than 24 grams but less than 5 ounces: it's considered a violation, punishable by a fine of up to $150.
  • 5 ounces to 2 pounds: this could be classified as a misdemeanor. The penalties include imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine not exceeding $1,000.
  • 2 – 4 pounds: it constitutes a felony, and is punishable by up to 4 years of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $5,000.

The sale of under 24 grams of concentrated cannabis is also illegal, with fines reaching up to $250. Sales exceeding 24 grams may lead to 1-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Limits on Public Use

Using cannabis in some public places is not allowed, including a motor vehicle, a private business, or locations where tobacco smoking is prohibited (like restaurant patios or public parks). However, it is acceptable in your house or most places where tobacco can be consumed.

Can You Grow Weed in NY?

For Medical Patients

Growing weed in New York is allowed if you're 21 or older and approved to use cannabis as a medical patient. Certified patients can grow and possess up to six plants at home, comprising three mature and three immature plants.

For designated caregivers, they can grow cannabis plants for a maximum of 4 patients at a time, but with some restrictions: a maximum of 6 plants per certified patient, with an overall limit of 12 plants allowed simultaneously. If a designated caregiver also happens to be a patient, the 12-plant limit encompasses any plants cultivated for personal use.

However, selling or trading homegrown cannabis is prohibited.

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For Non-Patients

Currently, non-patients are not permitted to grow cannabis at home in New York. The regulations for non-medical home growing are pending approval.

Farmers with a conditional non-medical cannabis cultivation license can grow outdoors or in a greenhouse, with a two-year authorization. Each farmer is limited to one acre outdoors or 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse.

Does New York Have Recreational Dispensaries Yet?

Yes, from Dec 2023! Beginning December, medical cannabis providers with licenses have the option to transition to the recreational market (for adult use) as retailers and wholesalers. To locate state-licensed cannabis dispensaries, keep an eye out for the blue and white "Dispensary Verification Tool" sticker on the front of the establishment. It will have a QR code you can use to verify it is on OCM’s list of all the licensed dispensaries.

These dispensaries can sell a lot of different things verified by the universal symbol, including edibles, tinctures, vape oils and flower (meaning the traditional green plant matter). A notable difference between legal products and unofficial stuff is that licensed items have to be created with cannabis cultivated inside New York state by licensed cultivators, which limits the universe of sold items.

marijuana logo new york state

This label is present on all packaging for legal cannabis products in New York. Image via New York State Office of Cannabis Management

Medical dispensaries are still operating; there are approximately a dozen in New York City. Medical cards are no longer required and patients do not have to register with the state. Whether you get cannabis through a medical or recreational dispensary depends on your health needs and preferences, but be aware that the medical facilities have a few things a regular dispensary might not, such as on-site pharmacists who can assist you in determining the right products or dosage for your needs.

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Other Prohibited Cannabis-Related Behaviors in NY

  • Crossing state lines with cannabis is a federal offense due to its status as a controlled substance under federal law.
  • Distributing or selling cannabis without a license, even in quantities of 3 ounces or less, incurs a fine of $250.
  • Driving under the influence of cannabis results in a first-offense penalty of a $500 to $1,000 fine, and/or up to one year in jail, along with a 6-month license revocation.
  • Consuming cannabis on federal land, including national parks and forests, is subject to federal law consequences.

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