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New York Medical Marijuana Patients Could Grow Up To Six Plants

FAIRFIELD, CT (WSHU) - The New York State Cannabis Control board issued regulations on Thursday to allow medical marijuana patients over 21 to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.

Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, said landlords will be permitted to restrict growth in leases.

“They can include in their lease restriction on the ability to cultivate at home, but they cannot prevent a patient from participating in the medical program writ large,” he said. "There still is space as well for landlords to have smoke-free policies in their places of residence, but folks are protected from discrimination stemming from their participation in the market.”

Alexander said dangerous chemicals involved in the processing of marijuana, such as butane, will also be prohibited under the regulations.

The regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days, after which the board will finalize and implement them. Tremaine Wright, the chair of the board, said the plants must be properly stored and kept out reach of children.

“The proposed regulations impose a duty on patients to take reasonable measures to ensure that cannabis plants and any cannabis cultivated from such plants is not readily accessible to anyone under the age of 21,” Wright said.

The plants cannot be in public view, must be locked up and monitored by security devices, and steps must be taken to lessen odors.

The regulations follow guidelines set by the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which allows three mature plants and three immature plants per person and a cap of six mature and six immature plants within any private residence. The act was passed in March, and legalized up to three ounces of marijuana. It is expected to take around two years to legalize recreational sales.

Wright said that the board has received several reports of unlicensed sales, which is a safety concern.

“Any individual selling cannabis or marijuana products in these unlicensed dispensaries, popup shops or markets is not licensed, nor are they selling safe, tested products,” Wright said.

The state has 38 medical dispensaries, three of which are located in Suffolk County.

Under the proposed regulations, designated caregivers over 21 will also be allowed to grow up to six plants for children, or adults unable to grow marijuana on their own who they are caring for. Patients can only have one caregiver growing on their behalf and caregivers may only grow one plant per patient over the initial six.

“Home cultivation will give medical patients and their caregivers another way to access needed medication,” said Richard Gottfried, who is chair of the state Assembly Health Committee and original medical marijuana bill sponsor.

This follows the important recent addition of the whole flower to the medical program, expansion of eligible practitioners, and removal of the patient registration fee. Gottfried emphasized that home-grown cannabis is not permitted for sale by just anybody.

Plants, seeds or flowers are not permitted to be sold without a license.
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