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Call 911 to report the use of cannabis (marijuana) by a minor under the age of 21 or the sale of marijuana at an outside location.

On March 31, 2021, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation legalizing the use of cannabis, also known as marijuana, for anyone 21 years of age or older.

The law establishes the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) to enforce regulations that cover:

  • Adult-use of cannabis
  • Medical cannabis
  • Cannabinoid hemp

Once OCM is created, it will be an independent office operating as part of the New York State Liquor Authority. It will be governed by a five-member board, with three members appointed by the Governor and one appointment by each house.

Learn more about the legislation.

The following rules apply to growing cannabis at home and personal possession of cannabis outside the home:

  • Effective immediately: 
    • Personal possession outside of the home: up to 3 ounces cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate
    • Individuals can smoke cannabis anywhere that tobacco can be smoked
  • Home possession: Once OCM issues regulations governing the home cultivation of cannabis (no later than 18 months after first adult-use sales begin), a person may lawfully possess up to five pounds of cannabis in their private residence, which must be kept in a secure location away from children
  • Home grow: Will be allowed 18 months after first adult recreational use sales begin, subject to possession limits and regulations of the Medical Program being put into effect no sooner than 6 months
    • 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants for adults over 21
    • 6 mature plants and 6 immature plants maximum per household

Effective immediately the legislation will allow people with a larger list of medical conditions to access medical marijuana and increase the number of caregivers allowed per patient.

Within six months the OCM will issue rules for home medical cultivation and allow home cultivation of medical cannabis for patients.


The legislation will create a two-tier licensing structure that will allow for a large range of producers. The legislation creates licenses for producers and distributors, among other entities, and the legislation will implement strict quality control, public health and consumer protections.

A social and economic equity program will create a goal of 50% of licenses to go to a minority or woman owned business enterprise, or distressed farmers or service-disabled veterans to encourage participation in the industry.

Adult-Use Tax Revenue

All cannabis taxes will be deposited in the New York State Cannabis Revenue Fund. Tax revenue will cover costs to administer the program and implement the law.

The remaining funding will be split three ways:

  • 40% to education
  • 40% to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund
  • 20% to the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund

Workplace Protection

The legislation prohibits employers from taking negative action against employees for the use of cannabis outside of work hours, off the employer’s premises and without the use of the employer’s equipment or other property (there are limited exceptions).

Traffic Safety

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) will work with institutions of higher education to conduct a research study designed to evaluate technology and methods for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving. After completion of the research study, DOH may create and implement rules and regulations to approve and certify a test for the presence of cannabis in drivers. 

The legislation includes additional funding for drug recognition experts and law enforcement to ensure safe roadways.

The use of cannabis by drivers remains prohibited and carries the same penalties as it does currently.

The cannabis penalty framework will be restructured to avoid criminalization. Reduced penalties will be implemented for possession and sale.

The law:

  • Effective immediately: Removal of records of those with past convictions for cannabis-related offenses that are no longer criminalized. Must be completed within 2 years 
  • Will ensure that cannabis is treated as a lawful substance and prevent discriminatory enforcement