With the first cannabis dispensary having made its first legal sale on Thursday, December 22, 2022, at 4:20 pm in Manhattan’s East Village, New York State has gone from legalizing medical cannabis back in 2014, to legalize the adult-use of recreational cannabis in 2021, to it now being legally sold, and in what should be just over a year–allowing medical and recreational users to cultivate cannabis in the privacy of their own homes.
As the second-most commonly used recreational “drug” in New York City after alcohol, it’s actually almost surprising that politically and socially liberal New York wasn’t one of the first states to legalize all forms of cannabis possession, selling, buying, and growing.
In 2014, medical cannabis became legally available to New Yorkers via the state’s medical marijuana program so long as a state-registered health care provider certified a patient’s need and usage of it, and if the patient then registered with the state to be able to purchase it.
More recently, a new law not only expanded eligibility for medical cannabis, but it also did the following:
- Increased the number of caregivers per patient
- Allowed prescriptions for up to 60 days (previously, it was at 30 days)
- Allowed for “smokable” cannabis to be purchased from licensed medical cannabis dispensaries.
On March 31, 2021 the state of New York passed the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalized the adult use of recreational cannabis. As such, it is completely legal for adults who are 21 years of age and older to have up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis in their possession for personal use in New York. Furthermore, adults (21+) are allowed to smoke and/or vape cannabis wherever smoking tobacco is permitted under the state’s smoke-free air laws. However, cannabis usage is not allowed in motor vehicles, including parked ones, or in a restaurant’s outdoor dining area.
It also remains against the law for those under 21 to possess, sell or use any amount of cannabis. Furthermore, regardless of age, no one is allowed to have more than 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of concentrated cannabis; sell any without a license; and, just as with alcohol, no one is allowed to drive while under the influence of cannabis.
As mentioned at the top of this, licensed recreational dispensaries are now legal in New York. In November 2022, of the 175 available retail licenses in New York, 36 had been awarded to businesses owned by those who had been convicted of state-level marijuana offenses and to nonprofits serving those who had been entangled by the state’s formerly prohibitive antidrug enforcement policies and actions.
Can I Grow My Own Cannabis Plants in New York?
This where it gets a little tricky. Basically, while it’s not quite yet legal for folk to grow medical or recreational cannabis at home it will be soon. In short, when recreational dispensaries were legalized, the law states that 18 months after the first adult-use dispensary opens at-home growing by those 21+ will be allowed. As such, since the first legal purchase at a dispensary happened in December 2022, private at-home cultivation should be allowed somewhere around May 2024.
Right now, it looks like certified medical cannabis patients will be allowed to grow up to six plants at home for medical purposes, and those 21 and older will be able to grow up to six plants, of which only three can be mature, for recreational purposes.
Most Popular Cannabis Seed Strains in New York
So, for those of you who reside in New York and are wanting to start collecting your seeds so that you can start to grow them as soon as the state gives the green light to do so, here are five of the most popular seed strains in New York right now.
Great for any time of day, Gorilla Glue Auto-Flowering cannabis seeds relax and ease some pain, and offer a touch of blissful euphoria. These effects make this an ideal strain for people hoping to relieve stress and depression, as well as pain. Gorilla Glue is a balanced hybrid and averages 21% THC. It tastes of pine and diesel and is easy to grow — great for beginners!
Grape Ape marijuana will easily win you over with its delicious fragrance, aroma, and potent effects. Easy to grow with an above average yield, gardeners of all experience levels will find success with this gorgeous indica strain.
Everyone loves Girl Scout Cookies. Boost your creative intuition and take stress down a notch with this popular hybrid strain that can ease pain and improve appetite while also offering a nice sense of euphoria. GSC is suitable
Delivering rapid-fire relief from pain, depression, stress, and muscle spasms, AK-47 marijuana is an aromatically pleasant and potent medical strain that will test the skills of intermediate level cultivators.
This sativa-dominant hybrid is called an “upper” for a reason. You’ll experience soaring THC levels around 22% that elevate your mood, keep you in a positive headspace, and relieve depression. The diesel aroma, however, is not everyone’s favorite
New York Growing Environment
Depending on where you live in New York and how much indoor/outdoor space you have available to you will likely determine some of your cannabis cultivation choices. To learn more about how to grow top-quality cannabis read here and here. Provided below are just a few little notes for you on growing the above-mentioned strains in New York.
This auto-flowering strain will do well both indoors and out. This one needs a warm outdoor setting, which is completely possible with New York springs and summers. If you want to grow it in the autumn or winter months you should do so indoors as it needs to be kept out of excessive rain and frost.
This one prefers lots of sunlight and moderate temperatures, so again, if you want to grow it in the autumn or winter months you should do so indoors, considering how chilly to downright frigid New York can be in those two seasons.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)
Ideally, when grown outside AK-47 should be in a setting where temps are below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if this doesn’t match the usual climate for where you live in New York, you’ll want to grow it indoors in soil or hydroponics.
This one requires a lot of space, which shouldn’t be an issue if you don’t live in NYC. If you’re growing it outside, you’ll need to live in an area in New York where temps are warm and sunny. In addition humidity levels need to remain under 60%, which might cause even those with plenty of land in New York to still grow it indoors where they can more easily control the environment.