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Cannabis and COVID-19: Do You Need to Sign up for a Caregiver Card?

Like many states, New York included provisions for designated cannabis caregivers in its medical cannabis law. Those holding such a caregiver card can assist cannabis patients with all aspects of cannabis-based care: The possession, acquisition, delivery, transfer, transportation, and administration of medical cannabis.

Even in the best of circumstances, many medical cannabis patients rely on such cannabis caregivers to help them manage their self-care. But with the entire state under threat of the global COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic, for many, that helping hand is proving to be critical. If you’re a medical cannabis patient at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19, we’ll run through some of the reasons you might want to ask a care provider to secure a caregiver card, as well as detailing the steps needed to obtain one.

caregiver card

New York Cannabis Caregiver Card: Is It Right For Me?

Ordinarily, it may make sense for those medical cannabis patients with compromised immune systems to avoid visiting clinics and dispensaries. But with a potentially deadly virus upending our notions of social contact and “business as usual,” for some of us, that need has become urgent.

That’s where having a designated cannabis caregiver comes in. If you fall under any of the following categories, it may be prudent to ask a friend, family member, or other caretaker to apply:

  • 50+ Years of Age
  • Suffering from Pulmonary / Respiratory Disease
  • Mobility Challenged / Reliant on Public Transportation
  • Compromised Immune System

The process of applying for a caregiver card is fairly simple and straightforward. In fact, the State of New York has currently waived the customary $50 application fee, making it even easier to obtain a card. Here’s how the process works.

caregiver card

New York Cannabis Caregiver Card: How to Apply

To begin the application process for obtaining a caregiver card in New York, the certified cannabis patient must first designate the caregiver. To do this, simply log in to, click the “Health Applications” icon, and then click the “Medical Marijuana Data Management System” link to register the designated caregiver.

If the designated caregiver doesn’t already have an account, they’ll need to click the “Don’t have an Account?” button to create a personal ID first. For step-by-step instructions on how to create a account, click here for instructions.

Once a caregiver’s registration is approved, the Department will issue a temporary registry identification card, which may be used in conjunction with government-issued photo identification to purchase approved medical cannabis products while the caregiver awaits his/her registry identification card (ID card) in the mail.

New York Cannabis Caregiver Card: How to Use

As soon as they’ve obtained their temporary ID card, caregivers can purchase and transport medical cannabis on behalf of the certified patient. However, it’s important to understand the procedures and restrictions on the use of such a card:
Designated caregivers obtaining medical cannabis on behalf of their patient(s) must bring their caregiver registry identification card and the patient’s certification to the dispensing facility.
Certified patients and designated caregivers must always carry their registry ID cards whenever they possess approved medical cannabis products.
Products containing medical cannabis may not be transported outside of New York State.
New York State does not accept certifications or registry ID cards from other states.

caregiver card

New York Cannabis Caregiver Card: Troubleshooting

If you run into technical issues in the registration process, either select the “HELP” link within the Medical Marijuana Data Management System on the page or click here for instructions.

And if you have any questions about obtaining or using a New York State Cannabis Caregivers Card, you can find detailed answers on the Department of Health’s Information for Designated Caregivers page.

If a caregiver card isn’t an option, try delivery. Vireo delivers to New York City’s Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx, and Queens neighborhoods, as well as Putnam County, Suffolk County, Nassau County, Rockland County, and Westchester County. If you are unsure if your location qualifies, take a look at our ‘check delivery area’ page and enter your zip code or home address to confirm.

And as always: If you have any questions about the use of medical cannabis, we’re always here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us.