General Information

 
What’s cannabis? 

 

Cannabis sativa is a plant with many names – weed, pot, marijuana, hash – that can have psychoactive characteristics and is consumed recreationally and for medical purposes. Cannabis sativa is a versatile plant and has been consumed by people for thousands of years for medicinal, recreational, industrial, and food purposes. The cannabis plant has hundreds of chemical compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes. 

 


 

What’s the difference between “cannabis” and “marijuana”? 

 

Nothing. Under the Cannabis Law, the term cannabis is used instead of marijuana. Marijuana is a term that grew in popularity in the late 19th century to refer to cannabis and was historically used in a derogatory way towards certain ethnic groups. For this reason, the OCM is using the term cannabis to refer to marijuana and the term hemp to refer specifically to hemp. Under the Cannabis Law, “adult-use cannabis” is used to refer to non-medical cannabis. 

 


 

Ok, but then what’s hemp? 

 

“Hemp” and “adult-use cannabis” are different classifications of the cannabis plant. Hemp is used to classify varieties of cannabis that contain 0.3% or less THC. Adult-use cannabis and Medical cannabis are used to classify varieties of cannabis that contain more than 0.3% THC, which is known for its psychoactive effects (including a feeling of being high). 

View more information about cultivating hemp in New York State. 

View more information about processing, manufacturing or retailing cannabinoid hemp products in New York State

 


 

What is THC

 

The cannabis plant produces more than 100 different cannabinoids, which are natural compounds that can have different effects on the mind and body. Tetrahydrocannabinol known as “THC” and cannabidiol known as “CBD” are the most common. THC is known for its psychoactive effects (a feeling of being high). 

 


 

What is CBD

 

CBD is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis. Many people who grow hemp, grow varieties that are high in CBD. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a “high” or psychoactive effect by itself. 

Fact Sheets

  •  

    Social and Economic Equity: Fact Sheet

    The MRTA incentivizes participation in the new industry for individuals disproportionally impacted by cannabis prohibition, automatically expunges an individual’s past marijuana convictions, and invests 40% of the adult-use cannabis tax revenue toward rebuilding communities harmed by the War on Drugs.

     

    Download

  •  

    Penal Law: Fact Sheet

    The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) modifies criminal violations and penalties relating to the sale and possession of cannabis.

     

    Download

What's Legal and What's Illegal

 

It’s illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy, possess, or consumes use adult-use cannabis in New York. Just like alcohol and tobacco. Cannabis use consumption by people under 21 has been found to have negative social, physical, and mental health impacts on people under 21 because their brains are still growing and developing. Businesses must have an adult-use license to legally sell cannabis in New York, and adult-use retail dispensaries can lose their license or face other significant penalties for selling cannabis to anyone under 21. Adults can be charged with criminal penalties for selling or giving cannabis products to someone anyone under 21.
 

What is Legal?
  • It is legal for adults 21 years or older to possess 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate (edibles, oil). 
  • It is legal for adults 21 years or older to consume cannabis in a private home or in most places tobacco can be consumed, with the exception of consumption in a motor vehicle, a private business (such as a restaurant patio), a hookah or “cigar bar,” or on federal property. 
  • It is legal for adults 21 years or older to “share” cannabis without compensation, to a person 21 years or older under the legal possession limit, but the sale of a service or commodity associated with the sharing is prohibited, including so-called “gifting.” 
What is Illegal?
  • tobacco is prohibited (like restaurant patios or public parks).  
  • It is illegal to cross state lines with cannabis, including medical cannabis.  
  • It is illegal to grow cannabis plants in your home until the OCM issues regulations permitting home cultivation for adult-use. 
  • It is illegal to distribute or sell cannabis without a license. Transferring cannabis under the possession limit between adults who are 21 years or older without remuneration (money paid or service provided) is legal. However, some individuals are attempting to skirt the law with arrangements in which cannabis is given away at the same time as another transaction or is offered or is advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services – this activity is illegal
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis which can slow motor coordination and other skills needed to drive safely. Like with alcohol, if you drive under the influence of cannabis, you will get a DUI and risk hurting yourself or others. 
  • Since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, you can’t consume it on federal land, including national parks and national forests.  
  •  New York recently passed a law that prohibits smoking cannabis and tobacco in all New York State Parks and Other New York State public outdoor spaces effective 10/13/2022.  Local municipalities have also been granted the authority to impose a $50 maximum civil penalty to individuals who violate this law.   

 

Adult-use sales of any amount are still illegal. View more information on penalties related to unlicensed cannabis sales. 

 


 

Cannabis Consumption and Your Rights at Work  

 

While it is legal for adults 21 years or older to consume cannabis, employers can still enforce policies that prohibit impairment. Employers are not required to commit any act that would cause them to violate federal law or lose federal funding. 

Consult your employer’s policies and the Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet for additional guidance.   

 

  •  

    Penal Law: Fact Sheet

    The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) modifies criminal violations and penalties relating to the sale and possession of cannabis.

     

    Download

  •  

    Employer: Fact Sheet

    Find a collection of key provisions from the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) which impact employers and workplace conduct.

     

    Download

Impaired Driving

 
What is Legal? 
  • It is legal for adults 21 years or older to possess cannabis in a vehicle. Cannabis should always be securely stored and in a closed container.  
  • It is legal for all drivers and passengers to possess the (quantity)  limits set by the state. Adults 21 and older can have up to three (3) ounces of cannabis and up to twenty-four (24) grams of concentrated cannabis 
What is Illegal? 
  • It is illegal to have open containers of cannabis in a vehicle. Similar to alcohol, no open containers are permitted. Neither drivers nor passengers can open any cannabis packaging while in a vehicle.   
  • It is illegal for the driver or any passengers to smoke cannabis while in a vehicle- moving or parked.   
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis which can slow motor coordination and other skills needed to drive safely. Like with alcohol, if you drive under the influence of cannabis, you will get a DUI and risk hurting yourself or others. 

 

If you feel different, you drive different. And remember, if you’ve consumed food infused with cannabis – called an “edible” – it can take as long as four hours for it take effect. If you’re not sure if you’re high or impaired, stay put, and don’t take the chance of harming yourself or others. Make a plan before you consume cannabis. 

View additional information on Cannabis and Driving

Public Consumption

 
Can my landlord prohibit me from using cannabis? 

 

A landlord cannot refuse to rent to a tenant who consumes cannabis, but landlords, property owners, and rental companies can still ban the smoking or vaporizing of cannabis on their premises. 

 


 

Can I consume cannabis at a hotel within New York State? 

 

Even if you’re traveling within the state, hotel owners can ban the smoking or vaporizing of cannabis on their properties, so you may not be able to consume in a hotel room.  Please note, that leaving the state or country with any cannabis product is against the law. 

 


 

Can I travel with cannabis? 

 

Leaving or coming into the state or country with any cannabis product is against the law.  Also, since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, you cannot consume on federal land (including national parks and national forests). 

 


 

Safe Storage  

 

If you keep cannabis and cannabis products at your home, they should be stored safely, locked up, and out of reach of children and pets. Accidentally consuming edibles is a risk for children and pets that can result in cannabis toxicity or the need for emergency medical attention. If there is an accidental exposure to cannabis or cannabis products of any kind — call Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222 or visit your Emergency Room if needed.  

Contact your vet immediately if your pet has ingested a cannabis-containing product.  

Cannabis Health Effects

 

Cannabis does not affect everyone the same. 

 If you haven’t consumed cannabis before, or it has been a while, it’s good to “start low and go slow”.  Different forms of cannabis can also have different effects. For example, edible cannabis products can take up to 4 hours before the individual feels the peak effects. Cannabis should always be consumed responsibly and never before driving or operating heavy machinery. 

 

Can second-hand cannabis smoke be harmful? 

 

While more research is necessary, the evidence available so far indicates that second-hand smoke from cannabis can have adverse health effects. Like tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke contains tar and cancer-causing chemicals, which raises concerns; cannabis aerosol can also contain harmful chemicals. It’s important to be mindful about where you smoke it and to be sure that you’re doing so away from other people. 

 

Despite the medicinal uses for cannabis, there can also be health risks for certain populations or individuals. Many of these risks depend on when you consume cannabis, how much you consume, and the type of cannabis you consume.  Certain compounds in cannabis – notably tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – can affect the brain in ways that can impact behavior, mood, thoughts, or perceptions and can be intoxicating. It is important to recognize that intoxication can be felt differently in different people and depends on the type of cannabis product being consumed, how much is being consumed, and whether someone is new to consuming cannabis. The intoxicating effects of cannabis consumed in edibles or beverages can be delayed and may not be fully felt until four or more hours after consumption. 

 

 It is possible to consume too much cannabis – though a cannabis “overdose” does not look like an overdose from alcohol or opioids. Consuming too much cannabis can result in acute psychosis and/or paranoia. If you think you’ve consumed too much cannabis, you can call the New York Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222) or, if it’s an emergency, call 9-1-1. 

 

Cannabis consumption has health impacts. If you are pregnant or breast/chest feeding, have been diagnosed or are predisposed to having a serious mental illness, have a history of respiratory or cardiovascular illness, or are currently taking any prescription medication – talk with your health care provider before consuming. 

 

Cannabis can be harmful to children and pets. Edible products, in particular, can be confused with food. Cannabis and cannabis products should be stored locked and out of reach of children and pets. If you think a child or pet has accidentally consumed cannabis, contact the New York Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222) or, if it’s an emergency, call 9-1-1. 

 


 

Is cannabis addictive? 

 

It can be. Up to 3 in 10 people who consume cannabis develop “cannabis use disorder”.  The risk of developing “cannabis use disorder” can increase for people who start using cannabis at a young age and consume cannabis frequently. If you think your cannabis consumption is disrupting your daily life or causing problems at work or at home, or if you crave cannabis, talk with a health care provider or substance use counselor. You can also call or text the Office of Addiction Services and Supports 24/7 NY Hopeline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (467369) or text HOPENY (467369) or visit oasas.ny.gov to learn more about addiction treatment

 


 

What are the signs of “Cannabis Use Disorder”? 

 

“Cannabis Use Disorder” is the medical diagnosis for problematic cannabis consumption. Cannabis consumption is problematic when it begins to impact an individual’s life. Some common signs of “Cannabis Use Disorder” include: 

  • Using more cannabis than intended 
  • Trying but failing to stop using cannabis when you want to 
  • Spending a lot of time using cannabis 
  • Craving cannabis 
  • Using cannabis even when it causes problems at home, at school, or at work 
  • Continuing to consume cannabis despite social, relationship, or school-related problems 
  • Giving up important activities with family or friends in favor of using cannabis 
  • Using cannabis in high-risk situations, like while driving a car 
  • Continuing to consume cannabis despite physical or psychological problems 
  • Needing to consume more cannabis to get the same high 
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping consumption of cannabis 

 


 

Are there any risks to using cannabis with alcohol or other substances? 

 

Yes. Using cannabis and alcohol at the same time can make you more impaired than using either substance alone. Also, if you’re taking prescription drugs, be sure to ask your healthcare provider if it’s safe to consume with cannabis. 

 


 

What about synthetic cannabinoids, are they safe? 

 

Synthetic cannabinoids (or fake marijuana, K2, “spice”) are psychoactive substances that are human made. Synthetic cannabinoids are often plant material sprayed with chemicals and are NOT from the cannabis sativa plant. Although they are sometimes marketed as safe legal alternatives, they are not safe and can affect the brain significantly more than cannabis. Their effects are unpredictable and can be dangerous or life threatening.  

Because synthetic cannabinoids bind to cell receptors more strongly, they can cause much stronger effects. People have reported experiencing rapid heart rate, vomiting, violent behavior, hallucinations, confusion, extreme anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.  Products can change batch to batch and have different chemical compositions making it difficult to predict the effects. Synthetic cannabinoids can also be addictive. 

 

Young Adults

 

You have to be 21 to buy, consume, or possess cannabis in New York State.    

Cannabis can be harmful to growing brains and have long-term health and social impacts. 

 

Certain compounds in cannabis (like THC) can affect the developing brain. The part of the brain that is responsible for making decisions (the prefrontal cortex) is one of the last parts of the brain that develops and is particularly impacted by cannabis use. Young people’s brains aren’t done developing until the age of 25. 

 

What other developmental issues in young people can be caused by cannabis consumption? 

 

Negative cognitive effects can include difficulty thinking and solving problems, problems with memory and learning, reduced coordination, difficulty maintaining attention, and problems with school and social life after consistent consumption. 

 


 

Can cannabis have an impact on mental health? 

 

Youth frequently using cannabis can increase the risk of mental health issues, including depression, social anxiety, acute psychosis, and schizophrenia. Cannabis consumption, especially frequent (daily or near daily) consumption and consumption that begins at an early age has been associated with schizophrenia and psychosis. The association appears stronger in people who also have a family history of schizophrenia, and in people who consume cannabis with higher THC content. 

 

Parents and mentors: You can impact whether the young people in your life consumes cannabis. Start the conversation with them early and have it often. Make sure they understand the consequences and the negative impact it can have on their growing, developing brain. pre-teens, teens, and youth young people in their early 20s tend to seek out new experiences and engage in risky behaviors, like using cannabis.   

 

What Parents, Mentors, and Trusted Adults need to know about Cannabis 

 

Cannabis and Pregnancy

 

Like many other drugs, there is limited research on the effects of cannabis on pregnancy and/or fetal development. Medical organizations like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that you stop using cannabis if you’re pregnant or breast/chest feeding. There are still many unknowns about the short- and long-term effects of cannabis during and after pregnancy for you and your baby. A safe choice is to take a break from cannabis consumption.  

  

Cannabis purchased from the illicit market (i.e., cannabis that is not purchased from a licensed dispensary) can pose additional risks to you and your baby as it is not tested or regulated.  These products can potentially be contaminated with mold and/or other chemicals that can be dangerous if consumed.    

 

For more information, view the Breastfeeding Grand Rounds “Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding,” hosted by the SUNY University at Albany School of Public Health

 


 

Is it okay to consume cannabis while pregnant? 

 

If you are pregnant, leading doctors’ organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that you stop using cannabis.  This recommendation is based on studies of both human and animal subjects. Even with these studies, it is still hard to say for sure that cannabis itself the health of participants. This is because in many studies, the people participating had more than one risk factor - things like other substance use, tobacco use, and/or lower socioeconomic status. Because of this, it is often difficult to determine the impact of cannabis exposure alone on a pregnancy or baby. 

   

Because so much is unknown, many providers and medical organizations recommend that people stop consuming cannabis while pregnant and/or while breast/chest feeding. The THC you consume can pass through to your baby and it is possible that exposure may impact your baby.  

 

We do know that smoking can be harmful to both you and your baby. It is recommended to stop smoking products of any kind during pregnancy, while breast/chest feeding, or when around children of any age.     

 


 

I consume cannabis regularly and just found out I am pregnant, what should I do? 

 

Stop or at least reduce your consumption. If you are having trouble quitting, you can call or text the Office of Addiction Services and Supports 24/7 NY Hopeline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (467369) or text HOPENY (467369) or visit oasas.ny.gov to learn more about addiction treatment

 


 

Is it okay to take medical cannabis while pregnant? 

 

Unfortunately, there is not much research on the impact of medical cannabis on pregnancy or babies. If you take medical cannabis, you should talk with your health care provider about the possible risks/benefits of medical cannabis consumption during pregnancy. You can also ask your provider about other medications or treatments which may have more pregnancy-specific safety data.   

 


 

Can cannabis help my morning sickness? 

 

There have been no clinical trials or studies to prove that cannabis is an effective way to treat morning sickness. If you are experiencing morning sickness, speak with your provider about prescribing or recommending an alternative to treat your nausea for which there is more pregnancy-specific data.   

 


 

What are the potential health effects of using cannabis during pregnancy?  

 

There is limited research on the impact of cannabis on the health of pregnancy and the development of babies. We do know that cannabis ingested by a pregnant person can be passed to your baby.    

It is important to remember that cannabis smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke, which are known to be harmful to pregnancy. Breathing cannabis smoke can be harmful for you and your baby.     

 


 

Is it safe to consume cannabis while breast/chest feeding?
 

It is safest to not consume cannabis while breast/chest feeding as some of the components can be passed in the breast/chest milk. The benefits of breast/chest feeding are vast both for you and your baby- nothing else comes close. If you choose to continue using cannabis, we recommend reducing both the amount and frequency, until research data tells us more. If you're having trouble cutting down, call 1-877-8-HOPENY (467369) or textHOPENY (467369) or visit oasas.ny.gov to learn more about addiction treatment.   

 

  •  

    Medical Cannabis Fact Sheet

    Find provisions in the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) that expand the Medical Marijuana Program, currently regulated by the Department of Health, and will soon be overseen by Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

     

    Download

Home Cultivation

 

New Yorkers 21 years and older can grow up to six plants in their home for personal use (3 mature plants and 3 immature plants) and a maximum of twelve plants per household (6 mature plants and 6 immature plants), even if there are three or more adults over the age of 21 in the residence. 

 

Please be aware the home cultivation of cannabis plants is currently not allowed. Pursuant to the MRTA, the home cultivation of cannabis plants may only be permitted after the Office of Cannabis Management issues regulations governing home cultivation of cannabis, which must be no later than 18 months after the first adult-use retail sale.  

  

  • Cannabis plants must be kept in a secure place and not accessible to any person under 21. 
  • Home cultivated cannabis cannot be sold to anyone and is only intended for personal use. 
  • Please note, it is illegal to make cannabis hash oil or concentrates using substances like butane, propane, or alcohol with home grown cannabis. 
  • Local municipalities may enact and enforce regulations relating to home cultivation of cannabis provided, no municipality may completely ban or prohibit home cultivation. 

Adult-Use and Social and Economic Equity

 

Social equity is central to the Cannabis Law, which seeks to begin the work of repairing decades of disproportionate enforcement and over criminalization of cannabis prohibition, especially in Black and Brown communities. Ensuring those harmed are given an equitable chance to participate and thrive in the legal New York cannabis industry is a key mandate of the Cannabis Law and a priority of the Office of Cannabis Management. Under the law: 

  • Records for people with previous cannabis convictions are automatically expunged or otherwise suppressed; 

  • Provisions routinely used to over criminalize people of color were removed; 

  • There is a goal to issue 50% of licenses to equity applicants; and 

  • 40% of tax revenues will be directed - after covering the cost of the program - into programs supporting the communities most impacted by disproportionate enforcement. 

 

Misdemeanor and felony marijuana arrest data by race/ethnicity and county from 1990 to 2020, and notes about the data, are available here

View more information about the Cannabis Law and social equity

 

Does the Cannabis Law expunge past cannabis arrests and convictions? 

 

Yes. The Cannabis Law automatically expunges records for people with previous convictions for activities that are no longer criminalized. Individuals who qualify for expungement are not required to take any further action to have their records expunged. So far, New York State and the Office of Court Administration have expunged approximately 300,000 records and suppressed another approximately 100,000 from background searches as they await expungement. 

Learn more about expungement and other areas of the penal law. 

 


 

What does expungement mean? 

 

Expungement is a process through which your criminal arrests, offenses, and convictions are legally removed from public record as if it never existed, and therefore will not be viewable by potential employers, landlords, schools, etc. Even a court or prosecutor cannot view a person's expunged record. 

 


 

What are the new penalties and violations for unlawful cannabis consumption, possession, or sale?
 

View a list of cannabis penalties and violations under the Cannabis Law

 


 

How does the Cannabis Law impact an individual on probation or parole? 

 

The Cannabis Law prohibits an individual on probation or parole from being punished or otherwise penalized for lawful cannabis consumption, unless the terms and conditions of the parole, probation, or state supervision explicitly prohibit a person's cannabis consumption. 

 


 

Why does the Cannabis Law include a social and economic equity program? 

 

The enforcement of cannabis prohibition disproportionately and adversely impacted certain communities. To help counter this, the Cannabis Law creates a social and economic equity program to rehabilitate and empower those  communities and individuals impacted by cannabis prohibition. The program also includes minority- and women-owned businesses, service-disabled veterans, and distressed farmers. 

 


 

How does the new law promote social and economic equity? 

 

The Cannabis Law establishes a robust social and economic equity program to prioritize and provide resources to members of communities that have been disproportionally impacted by the policies of cannabis prohibition and create pathways to industry participation through the implementation of a social and economic equity plan. The Cannabis Law establishes a goal to award 50% of all adult-use licenses to social and economic equity applicants and dedicates 40% of the adult-use cannabis tax revenue to reinvestment in communities disproportionally impacted. 

 


 

How do I qualify as a social and economic equity applicant? 

 

Social and economic equity applicants include individuals who have lived in communities disproportionally impacted by cannabis prohibition and other underrepresented groups, including minority- and women-owned businesses, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans-. More details about the social and economic equity program will be prescribed in future regulations promulgated by the Cannabis Control Board. Please continue to monitor this website for updates or sign-up to the OCM email distribution list

 


 

Will people who were convicted of a marijuana-related offense be allowed to participate in the industry? 

 

Yes. Not only can they participate, in fact, under the Cannabis Law, individuals convicted of a cannabis-related offense, or individuals who had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent, or was a dependent of an individual who was convicted of a cannabis-related offense, may qualify as a social and economic equity applicant and receive priority in the license process. When more details are available, they will be posted on the OCM website. For more information, please refer to the Social Equity Fact Sheet

  

  •  

    Social and Economic Equity: Fact Sheet

    The MRTA incentivizes participation in the new industry for individuals disproportionally impacted by cannabis prohibition, automatically expunges an individual’s past marijuana convictions, and invests 40% of the adult-use cannabis tax revenue toward rebuilding communities harmed by the War on Drugs.

     

    Download

Taxes

 

Adult-use cannabis has three taxes on it. There is a tax imposed at the distributor tier based on the milligrams (mg) of total THC in the cannabis product. There are different rates of tax depending on the cannabis product form. 

  • Edibles (e.g. food and beverages) are taxed at $0.03 per mg of THC 
  • Concentrates (e.g. vaporization oil, wax, shatter, and resin) are taxed at $0.008 per mg of THC 
  • Cannabis flower (e.g. loose flower, pre-rolls, or shake) are taxed at $.005 per mg THC
  • On the retail sale to the consumer, there are two taxes: 
  • 9% state excise tax  
  • 4% local excise tax  
  • These taxes do not apply to medical cannabis. 

 

All cannabis taxes would be deposited in the New York state cannabis revenue fund. Revenue covers reasonable costs to administer the program, including support mechanisms for equity applicants, and implement the law. The remaining funding would be split three ways: 

  • 40% to Education 
  • 40% to Community Grants Reinvestment Fund 
  • 20% to Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund 

Find a Dispensary

 

There are currently no regulated retail dispensaries for adult-use cannabis products in New York State. 

 

Certified patients can continue to access cannabis through the Medical Cannabis Program in New York. For all other adults, it remains illegal to buy or sell cannabis products. Any products sold on the illicit market are not tested or regulated by the State of New York and may pose risks to public health. 

 

Packages and labels in the illicit marketplace are also unregulated and without oversight. These products may contain unsafe ingredients, contaminants, and byproducts, and may be available in potencies and quantities that can result in accidental overconsumption. Additionally, they are sometimes packaged in a manner that is attractive to young people.  

 

Adult-use retail dispensaries will be coming soon following the adoption of regulations and licensing of retail establishments.   

Contact the Office of Cannabis Management

For additional questions on the campaign, email: [email protected]

To reach the Office of Cannabis Management for more information, please call: 1-888-OCM-5151 (1-888-626-5151)