NY lays out rules for growing cannabis at home post-legalization

Cannabis plants grow in the greenhouse at Vireo Health's medical marijuana cultivation facility, August 19, 2016 in Johnstown, New York.
Cannabis plants grow in the greenhouse at Vireo Health's medical marijuana cultivation facility, August 19, 2016 in Johnstown, New York. Photo credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The New York Cannabis Control Board approved regulations for growing cannabis at home for medical patients and caregivers on Tuesday.

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Non-patients will have to get cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries — which the state has promised will be open by the end of the year — but for those using marijuana for medical purposes, growing at home can be a much more affordable option.

“Today’s approval of the medical home grow regulations is a monumental step forward in improving New York State’s medical cannabis program,” said Tremaine Wright, Chair of the Cannabis Control Board. “We are creating opportunities for patients across the state to access the medicine they need on their own terms, giving those individuals guided autonomy over how they choose to get their medicine, whether it be from the comfort of their own backyards or at their neighborhood medical dispensary.”

Starting Oct. 5, patients will be allowed to grow up to three mature and three immature cannabis plants at one time.

Designated caregivers, those who are growing on behalf of patients who are unable to do so on their own, can grow double the number of mature and immature plants as long as they’re serving multiple patients.

Mature plants are those that have flowering buds, while immature plants have not yet flowered.

How much each plant yields depends on the genetics of the seeds, the skill of the cultivator and whether the plant is grown inside or outside, but the cannabis lifestyle website Leafly estimated an indoor plant should yield about 112 grams and an outside plant should yield roughly 224 grams.

That’s a lot of weed. Though cost is bound to change as the legal market establishes itself in New York, the Oxford Treatment Center estimated in May the average price of an ounce of cannabis in New York is $337, which shakes out to just under $12 a gram.

That cost is not factoring the premium prices people pay for high quality cannabis and taxes.

“What we are building in New York is not exclusive to business opportunities. We are also ensuring that this plant is for the people, especially when it comes to our medical cannabis patients,” said Office of Cannabis Management Chief Equity Officer Damian Fagon. “If today symbolizes anything, let it be a win for the communities throughout the state who have historically been barred from accessing proper health care.  I hope we can give peace of mind to those medical patients whose access to this plant is a fundamental human right.”

In order to become a patient, New Yorkers first need certification from a health care provider. A certified patient can then register online with the OCM, at which point they’ll receive a registry ID card that will allow them to legally grow at home.

For more information, potential patients can read the state’s FAQ on home cultivation.