Cannabis in New York State: What you can & can’t do

June 4, 2023 · Rochester First

An injunction to prevent CAURD licenses from being sent to the Finger Lakes region will be lifted soon as the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) is settling a lawsuit that imposed the injunction.

As it is being lifted, OCM will be working to send out licenses across the region — including in Monroe County. You may have questions about what you can or can’t do when purchasing, using, and even owning cannabis products.

Here is what you should look out for before purchasing cannabis:

How can I buy cannabis?

According to New York State, you can purchase cannabis products for pick-up or delivery from a licensed dispensary. It’s important to keep in mind that some locations may only offer delivery.

These dispensaries should have a QR code in front of the business. Scanning it will take you to a list of licensed dispensaries to confirm that you are shopping at a legitimate place.

Much like alcohol, cannabis products cannot be sold or delivered to anybody younger than 21 years old. All customers must prove that they are 21 years or older through a valid ID to receive or purchase their products.

What are the rules for delivery?

While you are buying cannabis over the phone or online for delivery, the products will only be delivered to your residence. Deliveries to motor vehicles are not allowed.

If you aren’t home and you want someone else to accept the order on your behalf, that is allowed on the condition that the person accepting your order is 21 years or older and has a valid ID.

What is a dispensary allowed to sell to me?

Aside from cannabis products and paraphernalia received from an official distributor, customers can expect to see some locations sell stationery and gifts.

Merchandise such as t-shirts, jewelry, and other items can also be sold — as long as it features that dispensary’s specific branding.

However, there are items banned from sale. Although bottled water can be sold, food or drinks that do not contain cannabis is banned from sale. Any items that could be marketed to children or people under 21 — such as toys or candy — can not be sold either.

What do I need to look out for when I own these products?

The maximum amount that you are allowed to possess is three ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate — this includes products like edibles and oils.

Currently, you are not allowed to cross state lines with any form of cannabis — including medical cannabis.

Where can I smoke/use cannabis?

According to OCM, you can use cannabis in your home or in most places where tobacco is allowed to be smoked.

Due to cannabis still being illegal under federal law, you are not allowed to consume it on federally-owned land. Additionally, New York State also bans the consumption of cannabis in state parks and outdoor public spaces.

Since driving under the influence of cannabis is obviously still illegal, it should be noted that you can not use cannabis in a motor vehicle at all. You are allowed to store cannabis in your car, as long as it is inside a sealed container.

Am I allowed to grow or sell my own cannabis?

Until the OCM issues regulations, it is still illegal for people to grow cannabis plants in their homes. Unless you have a CAURD license, you can not sell or distribute cannabis.

In some cases, people have given away cannabis during the purchase of a separate product — this too is illegal.

With that said, you are allowed to transfer cannabis to an adult 21 years or older without payment, but it must be under the possession limit as stated above.

Did my town “opt out” of allowing licenses?

Cities, towns, and villages in New York are allowed to opt out of allowing retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses from being located in their areas.

As of now, several towns and villages in the Finger Lakes region — including Ogden, Greece, Gates, Webster, Pittsford, and Farmington — have banned both retail dispensary and on-site consumption licenses.

Some municipalities in the region have allowed retail dispensaries but opted out of allowing on-site consumption licenses. These include the Town of Penfield, the City of Canandaigua, the Town of Henrietta, and the Town of Victor.

To check if your area has opted out of either a retail dispensary license and/or an on-site consumption license, you can look on OCM’s official opt-out list here. (Full Story)

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