January 24, 2022

Office of Cannabis Management Launches New Certification and Registration System and Expands Program Eligibility

Office of Cannabis Management Launches New Certification and Registration System and Expands Program Eligibility
Practitioners Granted Greater Discretion in Certifying Patients for Medical Cannabis

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) today announced the launch of a new Medical Cannabis Program certification and registration system that’s easier to use and expands the eligibility criteria for patients who can benefit from medical cannabis. 

The new certification and registration system officially launched today brings the system under the full control of the OCM and continues the work of expanding the program, pursuant to the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). 

Moving forward, the program will allow the certification of a patient by a practitioner for any condition that the practitioner believes can be treated with medical cannabis. This practitioner discretion in certifying patients was granted with the passage of the (MRTA). Enacted in March, the MRTA shifted the medical program from the Department of Health to the OCM and expanded the Medical Cannabis Program.

“It is terrific to see the Medical Cannabis Program expand so vastly with the launch of the new certification and registration program and the ability of practitioners to determine qualifying conditions as included in the MRTA,” said Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright. “The new cannabis industry is taking shape as we continue to implement the MRTA and provide greater access for New Yorkers to a medicine that we’re learning more about every day. We’re continuing to move forward swiftly and today’s system launch follows our achievements that already include adding whole flower medical product sales, permanently waiving $50 patient fees, and advancing home cultivation regulations, among others.”

“Launching the new patient certification and registration system and expanding eligibility for the Medical Cannabis Program are significant steps forward for our program. We will continue to implement the MRTA and ensure that all New Yorkers who can benefit from medical cannabis have the access they need to do so,” said OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander. “It’s important for New Yorkers to know that even as we shift the medical program to the OCM, your access will not be disrupted and the program will continue to expand.”

Patients certified through the new certification and registration system will be issued their certification from the OCM. Certifications previously issued from the Department of Health continue to remain valid as long as they have not reached their expiration date. Those certifications will be re-issued from the OCM after said expiration. All current caregivers will be re-issued new registry ID cards with the patient’s name printed on them to better identify which patient(s) they are authorized to assist. 

The new certification and registration program and the implementation of the expanded conditions included in the MRTA are just the latest steps in the OCM’s expansion of Medical Cannabis Program access. Already, the OCM and the Cannabis Control Board since the Board’s first meeting on Oct. 5, 2021 have taken action by:

  • Allowing the sale of whole flower medical cannabis products;
  • Expanding the types of eligible clinical providers able to certify patients to any practitioner who is licensed to prescribe controlled substances in New York State, including dentists, podiatrists, and midwives;
  • Increasing the amount of approved medical cannabis that may be dispensed to a certified patient or designated caregiver from a thirty (30) day supply to a sixty (60) day supply;
  • Permanently waiving the patient and caregiver $50 registration fee; and
  • Streamlining the approval for facilities such as hospitals, residential facilities, and schools to become designated caregiver facilities to hold and dispense products for patients.

The Cannabis Control Board has also advanced to public comment regulations allowing for the home cultivation of medical cannabis. The public comment period closed on January 18, 2022.  The OCM is preparing an assessment of public comment that will be published in the New York State Register in the near future.  Please continue to monitor the OCM website for updates.  

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