cannabis plant

Adult Use Cannabis

Important information about NY's adult use cannabis laws and how cannabis affects your health.

What you need to know


Who can legally use cannabis?

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) legalizes cannabis and cannabis products like edibles for adults 21 years of age and older. It’s illegal for people under the age of 21 to use or possess cannabis or cannabis products – a law that is meant to protect the health of young adults and youth. Cannabis use by youth and young adults can harm the developing brain, increase the likelihood of cannabis use disorder, and cause other physical and mental health issues.


How do I store it safely?

Because possession and use of cannabis and cannabis products are illegal for people under the age of 21 and they can be harmful to minors, lock these products up and keep them out of reach and out of sight, especially with respect to edibles, which may attract children. Not only can they make children sick, they can also make pets ill. If a child or pet ingests cannabis or a cannabis product, call the poison control hotline: 1-800-222-1222.


Is cannabis addictive?

Yes, cannabis can be addictive for some people. Addiction to cannabis can interfere with many aspects of life by affecting your relationships, your work or school performance, your safety if you use in situations where it is dangerous to do so, like driving a car, and your physical and mental health. If you or someone you know wants to stop using cannabis, contact the NYS HOPEline for assistance: 1-877-846-7369 or text 467369.


What’s so dangerous about cannabis and driving?

Driving while impaired could put you and others at risk. Driving under the influence of any substance can impair reaction time, attention, and perception. Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal, and you risk being fined and/or having your driver’s license suspended or revoked. It’s better to be safe if you’re using cannabis and find alternative means of transportation rather than driving or riding with someone who may be impaired.


Is it okay to use cannabis during pregnancy or when breastfeeding?

Cannabis, in any form, should not be used during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. That means it should not be smoked, vaped, dabbed or eaten. Cannabis should be avoided just like alcohol, tobacco, and other potentially dangerous substances during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Cannabis, like other substances, could harm a fetus’ development and health.


But isn’t it natural?

Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Whether it’s smoked, eaten, dabbed, or vaped, cannabis affects brain chemistry and can make people feel anxious, afraid, and even paranoid. Some people, especially if they use potent forms of cannabis or consume too many edibles, may have severe reactions with symptoms like confusion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and an elevated heart rate. Even if people don’t have these experiences, cannabis can have negative effects on memory and attention. Developing a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia, is also possible for vulnerable people who use cannabis. The more cannabis is used, the greater the risk.


What if someone has a severe reaction after using cannabis or consuming edibles?

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if your or someone you know is having a severe reaction.

Fact Sheet

Bookmark and revisit this page for the latest on the legalization of adult use cannabis in New York State and learn more at

Get Help

For help with an alcohol use disorder, call the New York State Hopeline at 1-877-8-HOPENY or text 467369. for help, hope, and referrals. Find addiction treatment near you using the Treatment Availability Dashboard Tool or search for a program or provider using the look-up tool.