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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New York State

March 2, 2023

The Empire State is open for business with the new marijuana laws passed in 2021, easing the burden on patients and adult recreational cannabis connoisseurs. If you’re looking for where to get a medical cannabis card in New York state, My Virtual Physician can help.

In this guide, we walk you through the steps to get your cannabis medical card online as a New Yorker.

Medical Cannabis Card Vs. Recreational

New York has been in the game for a while now, having legalized medical marijuana nearly a decade ago, back in 2014. But they recently stepped up the game in 2021 by leveling the playing field with the legalization of adult-use cannabis. So, what’s the difference?

For one, medical cannabis requires a registration process. While this can be seen as a burden, it can pay off since it provides additional legal protections, reduced excise taxes, and cultivation allowances for patients who use marijuana for medical purposes.

Below, we lay out the major differences between having that medical marijuana cardholder status versus recreational use in New York state.


Medical Marijuana Cardholder Recreational Use (Adult Use)
Legal Protections
  • Protects your right to grow cannabis on your property
  • Landlords cannot discriminate or prohibit the use of medical cannabis (except in smoke or vape form)
  • Protects against employment discrimination
  • Protects against school discrimination


  • Protects against employment discrimination for use outside of the workplace, except when it is in conflict with employer’s federal requirements or the employee displays symptoms of impairment during working hours
  • Drug tests cannot be used to serve as proof of impairment at work
Quantity Allowed in Possession
  • 60-day supply
  • Up to 2-½ ounces of marijuana products
  • Up to 3 ounces
  • Up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis
Home Cultivation
  • Certified patients over 21 years old can grow up 3 mature and 3 immature female plants for personal use
  • Can possess up to 5 lbs of useable cannabis (no longer in soil)
  • None allowed
Price and Taxes
  • Excise tax is 7% included in the price at the dispensary (paid by the distributor)
  • No state retail tax
  • 9% State excise tax
  • 4% Local excise tax
  • These are on top of standard state and local sales tax rates
Age Requirement
  • 18+
  • Under 18 with designated caregiver
  • 21+

As you can see in the chart above, there are a lot of reasons patients choose to get a medical cannabis card in New York.

Do I Qualify for a Medical Cannabis Card in New York?

To obtain a New York Registry ID Card for medical cannabis, you must have a medical condition that qualifies, or that your doctor gives the green light for the use of cannabis as symptom relief.

Check the list below to verify that your condition meets this New York medical cannabis card requirement:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Cancer
  • Autism
  • Substance use disorder
  • Neuropathies
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV or AIDS
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury with spasticity
  • IBS
  • Huntington Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Dystonia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

In New York state, the healthcare provider has the discretion to allow any other condition, even if not explicitly listed above, to qualify.

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, you’re ready to begin the process of getting a medical card for cannabis in New York. The steps are covered next.

Getting Your Medical Cannabis Card in New York

We’ll break the process down into three simple steps to get your medical marijuana card in NY.

  1. Physician’s Certification
  2. Register for the Medical Cannabis Program
  3. Payment

Step #1: Physician’s Certification

The first step to obtaining a medical cannabis card in New York is to see your doctor. From there, your doctor will initiate the process with the state by submitting physician certification documentation through the online portal. Remember, in New York, your doctor can approve medical marijuana for some circumstances that are not on the default list of qualifying conditions.

At My Virtual Physician, we have board-certified doctors who are licensed to practice in New York (and must take a special course on prescribing cannabis as required by the state). That means we can provide the necessary certification after a consultation visit if our doctors deem medical marijuana as a treatment for your condition.

To get started, fill out our online application to get your card now. Our doctors will reach out to you to complete the appointment and notify you when you can begin step #2 in the process of getting your medical cannabis card in New York.

Step #2: Register with New York State’s Online Portal

After your appointment, the next step to get your medical marijuana card is to register online with New York’s Medical Cannabis Data Management System (MCDMS). Here are instructions for setting up your new account or using your existing personal account to register for your card.

Step #3: Paying for Your Medical Cannabis Card

Lastly, we’ll cover the costs. Recently, New York began waiving the registration fees to get your medical marijuana Registry ID Card (it used to cost $50). That means the only cost to get your NY medical cannabis card is for the consultation with your doctor.

My Virtual Physician charges $115 for this type of consultation visit. Once your card expires, you’ll need a new physician certification. That means your annual cost to maintain a NY medical marijuana card can be as low as $115 per year.

Take the First Step Now

If you’re ready to get relief from pain or another debilitating medical condition, but don’t know where to get a medical cannabis card in New York, My Virtual Physician can help. Start today: fill out our intake form to get your physician certification on file.

Get Your Medical Cannabis Card Now

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