Can I Get A Medical Marijuana Card With A Felony In NY?
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Looking to obtain a medical card in New York with a felony on your record? The eligibility criteria can be complex, leaving many wondering if their past convictions will hinder their chances. 

The answer, in short, is that applicants with a history of felonies and other specified criteria outlined in Section 137 of the Cannabis Law may be deemed ineligible for an MMJ card. 

In this article, we will delve into the requirements and restrictions surrounding medical marijuana card applications in New York, shedding light on the impact of felony convictions and providing essential insights for those seeking clarity on this matter. 


Medical Marijuana Card Eligibility in New York

To obtain a medical marijuana card in New York, there are specific eligibility requirements that must be met. Here’s a breakdown of the key criteria:


  1. Legal residency: Applicants must be legal residents of New York State to be eligible for a medical marijuana card.
  2. Age requirement: Individuals must be at least 18 years old, or if they are a minor, they can have a designated caregiver who is at least 18 years old.
  3. Certification from a registered practitioner: To qualify for a medical marijuana card, a certification from a practitioner registered with the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) is necessary.


In New York, a debilitating condition is a primary factor for eligibility. These include but are not limited to chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions have been recognized as having the potential to benefit from medical marijuana treatment.

When it comes to assessing eligibility, healthcare providers play a crucial role. 

Registered practitioners evaluate patients’ medical history and symptoms to determine if medical cannabis could be an appropriate treatment option. Their expertise ensures that patients with qualifying conditions in New Yok receive the necessary guidance and recommendations for accessing medical marijuana.

Navigating the eligibility requirements for a medical marijuana card in New York involves understanding the residency, age, and certification aspects, as well as the qualifying conditions and the important role of healthcare providers. 

By adhering to these guidelines, eligible individuals can explore the potential benefits of medical marijuana in managing their health conditions.


Felony convictions can have implications on medical marijuana card applications in New York. According to Section 137 of the Cannabis Law, individuals with specific felony convictions related to cannabis business operations and trafficking within the past three years may face restrictions when it comes to obtaining a license for selling or manufacturing cannabis.

Section 137 of the Cannabis Law outlines the potential limitations for individuals with recent felony convictions. These limitations are subject to review by the Board and may affect the eligibility of applicants looking to engage in the sale or manufacturing of cannabis. Understanding the specific details and provisions outlined in the Cannabis Law is essential for those with felony convictions seeking involvement in the medical marijuana industry. 

It’s crucial to consult legal experts or seek guidance from professionals well-versed in the applicable laws. They can provide personalized advice and insights regarding the impact of felony convictions on medical marijuana card applications in New York, ensuring that individuals are well-informed about their rights and potential limitations when pursuing this avenue for treatment.


Which States Allow Felons to Hold Medical Marijuana Cards

While the regulations surrounding felons and medical marijuana card eligibility vary across states, several jurisdictions provide opportunities for individuals with felony convictions to obtain a medical cannabis card. Here is a glimpse into some of these states:


  • Arizona: In Arizona, patients with a prescription from a licensed physician can gain access to medical cannabis regardless of their previous convictions.
  • Arkansas: Arkansas permits felons to hold medical marijuana cards.
  • California: California offers a pathway for non-violent cannabis offenders to obtain medical cannabis cards, thanks to Proposition 64.
  • Connecticut: Felony convictions do not automatically disqualify residents from obtaining a medical marijuana license in Connecticut.
  • Florida: Florida allows felons to hold medical marijuana cards.
  • Louisiana: Felons are permitted to have medical marijuana cards in Louisiana.
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts does not discriminate against medical marijuana patients based on their criminal history.
  • Michigan: Michigan permits felons to hold medical marijuana cards.
  • Minnesota: Felons are allowed to hold medical marijuana cards in Minnesota.
  • Missouri: Missouri allows felons to have medical marijuana cards.
  • Montana: In Montana, no background checks are performed on patients, making it possible for felons to obtain medical marijuana cards.
  • New Mexico: Felons are permitted to hold medical marijuana cards in New Mexico.
  • Ohio: Ohio permits felons to have medical marijuana cards.
  • Oklahoma: Felons are allowed to hold medical marijuana cards in Oklahoma.
  • Oregon: In Oregon, felony convictions that are not related to Controlled Dangerous Substances do not disqualify individuals from obtaining medical marijuana cards.
  • Rhode Island: Rhode Island does not conduct background investigations, making it possible for felons to hold medical marijuana cards.
  • Virginia: Virginia permits felons to hold medical marijuana cards.
  • Washington: While a felony on record does not automatically disqualify applicants in Washington, serious felony convictions within the past 10 years will trigger deeper scrutiny of the application.


It’s important to note that the regulations regarding felons and medical marijuana card eligibility may not be explicitly mentioned in some states. In these cases, it is advisable to consult the specific state laws or seek guidance to determine the eligibility criteria for felons in acquiring medical marijuana cards. 

It is also worth noting that states like Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Utah have more stringent requirements and restrictions for felons seeking medical marijuana cards.


Can a Felon Own a Dispensary in NY?

New York has more relaxed regulations when it comes to felons owning or operating a medical marijuana dispensary. 

Individuals with prior felony convictions related to cannabis offenses are eligible to obtain dispensary licenses. In fact, New York’s commitment to righting the wrongs of the past is evident as the first cannabis dispensary licenses were granted to people with prior pot convictions.

While there are restrictions, nonviolent felonies such as cannabis possession, transportation, or cultivation, as well as related misdemeanors, generally have better chances of meeting the criteria for obtaining a dispensary license. Here are some key factors considered in the application process:


  • A majority ownership of the applying company/entity must have been in New York State for a specified duration, such as 180 days within the last year or 540 days within the last three years.
  • The applicant, their dependents, spouse, parents, legal guardian, child, or dependent must have a prior marijuana-related offense conviction in New York State before March 31, 2021.
  • The applicant should have held at least 10% ownership in a business with a minimum of two years of net profit.


These criteria demonstrate New York’s commitment to inclusivity and giving individuals with past convictions an opportunity to participate in the legal cannabis industry.


What Weapons Can a Felon Own in NY State?

In both federal and New York State law, individuals with felony convictions or active orders of protection are considered prohibited persons when it comes to firearm possession. This means felons cannot own pistols, rifles, handguns, or shotguns. The regulations surrounding weapons possession by felons aim to ensure public safety and prevent potential misuse or harm.


Can a Felon Live with Someone Who Owns a Gun in NY?

Convicted felons in New York are barred from gun ownership and possession.

However, it’s important to understand that the restrictions extend beyond direct ownership. Even if the firearms in question do not belong to you, residing in the same household as someone who owns guns can potentially be seen as possessing them.

The concept of possession can extend beyond the physical handling of the firearm. For instance, if you live with an individual who keeps a loaded firearm on their nightstand and you have knowledge of its existence, you could face legal consequences.



New York’s regulations offer opportunities for felons in the medical marijuana industry, with inclusive measures in place. Dispensary licenses have been granted to individuals with prior pot convictions, showcasing the state’s commitment to righting past wrongs. 

While felony convictions can impact certain aspects, such as eligibility for specific licenses or firearm possession, there are still avenues for participation and access to medical marijuana. 

To navigate these complexities, felons should seek legal advice and understand the specific requirements. It is crucial to explore options within the boundaries of the law and make informed decisions. By doing so, individuals can pursue opportunities in the medical marijuana field while ensuring compliance with relevant regulations in New York.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Can a felon with an MMJ card work in the medical marijuana industry?

Yes, felons with medical marijuana cards can work in the medical marijuana industry in New York. However, specific restrictions may apply depending on the nature of their felony convictions.


Can a felon grow their own medical marijuana in NY?

Yes, if holding a medical marijuana card, felons can grow their own medical marijuana in New York. Cardholders are allowed to cultivate up to six plants, with only three being mature, per private residence.


Can someone lose their medical marijuana card due to a new felony conviction?

Possibly. New felony convictions can potentially impact a person’s medical marijuana card status. The outcome will depend on the specific circumstances and relevant laws and regulations in New York.

By Kif Team

The Kif Team has expert team of writers with a profound understanding of holistic medicine. We specialize in assisting individuals in obtaining their medical marijuana cards. We firmly believe in the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis for various health conditions. Our mission is to educate and enlighten as many people as possible about its potential advantages.

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