June 9, 2020  | By

By: Dr. Tanuj Palvia, MD.

In 2014, New York State’s Assembly and Senate passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana for a limited number of conditions. Over the years, the laws have been significantly relaxed. I was one of the earliest adopters.

Medical Marijuana has transformed my practice as an interventional pain physician. I have found it to be a very helpful adjuvant medication, especially in the treatment of chronic pain related to conditions such as arthritis, sciatica, and cancer pain, amongst others. More recently, I have also found it effective in managing symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, diabetic neuropathy, and peripheral neuropathy. Also, as a physician who is very cautious when prescribing medications that cause dependence, such as opioid medications, I find medical marijuana as an excellent alternative to prescribing opioids, and also very helpful in transitioning off of opioids as well.

If you are wondering how to proceed, it can be a little cumbersome. Here is my attempt to give a simple explanation of the entire process. It is three-fold:

Certification for the New York State Medical Marijuana Program

  1. Patients must first be certified for medical marijuana by a registered practitioner. This usually includes a full evaluation of your medical history, physical examination, and potential image review.
  2. In our office, we usually have a 30-45 minute consultation, whereby we discuss your condition and treatment history. Once we determine you qualify for medical marijuana certification, we will issue your certificate.

Registration for the License

  1. After receiving your certificate, you must log in to the state’s registration website at https://my.ny.gov/.
  2. You will need to create an account. You can visit their site directly to access step-by-step instructions on how to create a My.NY.gov account.
  3. Under the “Health Applications” icon, click the “Medical Marijuana Data Management System” link to register as a patient or caregiver.
  4. Pursuant to the Compassionate Care Act, the Department is currently waiving the $50 fee for all patients and their designated caregivers.
  5. Once a patient or caregiver’s registration is approved, the Department will issue a temporary registry identification card through the My.NY.gov account. Use the temporary registry identification card until the physical medical marijuana license arrives in the mail a couple of weeks later.

Acquirement of Medication

  1. Patients must bring their registry ID cards and their certifications to a registered dispensary in order to purchase approved medical marijuana products.
  2. Designated caregivers obtaining medical marijuana on behalf of their patients must bring their caregiver registry identification cards and their patients’ certifications to the dispensing facility.

4 things you need to know once you receive your medical marijuana license:

  1. Certified patients and designated caregivers must always carry their registry ID card whenever they possess approved medical marijuana products.
  2. Medical marijuana products may not be transported outside of New York State.
  3. New York State does not accept certifications or registry ID cards from other states.
  4. A certified patient or designated caregiver who has been issued a registry ID card must notify the Medical Marijuana Program of any change in his or her name, address, or if he or she no longer has the serious condition noted on the card within ten (10) business days of such change.

If you have any other questions about medical marijuana or would like to start your certification process, please feel free to reach out by phone or by filling out the form below:


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