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New York Approves Homegrown Medical Marijuana

Patients may grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home. “Mature” plants are those in flower; “immature” aren’t

The New York State Cannabis Control Board has OK’d a proposal for medical marijuana patients to grow Cannabis, reports MarketWatch.

Separately, the board also green-lighted 19 new adult-use marijuana cultivator licenses to bring the total in the state to 261.

New York patients using medical marijuana can grow up to three mature and three immature plants at home beginning Oct. 5, reports the Times Union. “Mature” plants are those in flower; “immature” plants have no visible flowers.

Designated caregivers with two or more patients may grow up to six mature and six immature plants. Regulations allow medical patients or caregivers of to also possess up to five pounds of cultivated marijuana

It is illegal for a patient or caregiver to sell any marijuana, seeds or plants to another person. Caregivers and patients can give three ounces of Cannabis or 24 grams of concentrate to other patients or caregivers.

First-Ever Session With Live Audience

The agenda for the board’s first-ever session with a live audience, held in Manhattan, also included finalization of hemp rules. Regulators proposed the hemp rules last fall. The rules had already gone through two rounds of public comment periods.

“Certified patients and designated caregivers over the age of 21” will be able to grow cannabis plants in early October, said Nicole Quackenbush, director of health and safety at the Office of Cannabis Management. She recommended that eager patients review the state’s home cultivation guide online.

New York patients from 18 to 20 need to have a designated caregiver grow their plants.

Quackenbush said it’s good for patients to “reach out to dispensaries prior to visiting” to make sure they have seeds or starts.

A number of companies with national distribution sell marijuana seeds in New York. New York considers marijuana seeds as hemp until sprouted.

“Monumental Step” For New York

The slow rollout of medical home cultivation rules has frustrated patients. This is especially true of patients on fixed incomes, such as those on retirement checks.

Other New Yorkers have been growing at home regardless of the law. Some became willing to risk legal repercussions once police stopped targeting small-scale marijuana grows.

New York has 124,485 registered medical marijuana patients and 3,817 medical professionals approved to certify them.

“Approval of the medical home grow regulations is a monumental step forward in improving New York state’s medical cannabis program,” said Tremaine Wright, Cannabis Control Board chair, reports 1010 Wins. “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.”

“Long, Long Time Coming”

Jen Metzger, a member of the board, said the change will “really improve the accessibility and affordability of cannabis for some patients.” But she cautioned first-time growers to consider investing in the most energy efficient equipment. That’s not only for environmental reasons, but “because it can have a huge impact on your electricity bills.”

The home cultivation announcement was “a long, long time coming,” said Axel Bernabe, the Office of Cannabis Management’s senior policy director.

The meeting had 55 available audience seats. Attendees booked all seats the day the meeting was announced. More than 600 viewers watched online. The audience saw the control board approve ownership transfers for two medical cannabis companies, sign off on 19 more conditional cultivators and 10 additional processors, and remind attendees that the deadline for the state’s first dispensary licenses is Sept. 26.

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