Cannabis (Marijuana/Hemp)

The word "cannabis" refers to all products derived from the plant cannabis sativa. 

The word "marijuana" refers to all parts of or products from the plant cannabis sativa that contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is known for having mind-altering effects. 

Hemp contains high amounts of cannabidiol (CBD), which is responsible for a more therapeutic effect and does not cause impairment. The higher CBD content is used to make commercial CBD products. Hemp, known as "industrial hemp", is also used for its fibers to make clothing.


Medical marijuana was legalized in NYS in July 2014 and more recently, recreational use for marijuana was legalized in 2021. While there are known benefits to medicinal marijuana, recent studies have shown that recreational use of marijuana may have a negative impact on brain development, lung function, and poor mental health. There is also risk related to driving accidents while under the influence of marijuana and poisoning after consumption by children. Lastly, it is estimated that 30% of users will develop an addiction, referred to as marijuana use disorder.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

Local Data 

The Madison County Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse, Inc. (BRiDGES) conducted a survey of Madison County adults on marijuana use and perceptions in 2021. Of survey respondents, 13.9% indicated that they use marijuana recreationally, while 12.0% said they use marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.

According to the 2018 Madison County Teen Assessment Project (TAP) Report, approximately 32% of high school students have tried marijuana – consistent with the 2014 survey.

The number of admissions related to marijuana demonstrates an increase in Madison County, Central New York, and New York State hospitals every year since data collection began in 2019.

Madison County 

CNY Hospitals

NYS Hospitals

















The number of hospitalizations related to cannabis in Madison County, Central New York, and New York State hospitals (2018-2021). Source: Health Commerce System Electronic Syndromic Surveillance System Data Export (2018-2021).
 *Data collection began in 2019.

Regulations & Dispensary Information  

Please visit the New York State Office of Cannabis Management website for more information on the law and regulations:

New York State will be issuing a verification tool for all licensed cannabis dispensaries (image of window display).  

Local Efforts to Address Harm Reduction

The Madison County Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse, Inc. (BRiDGES) hosts a coalition working on local efforts to prevent underage use and reduce harm around adult use of marijuana. Interested in getting involved? Please complete the interest form. Visit the BRiDGES website to learn more:  


  1. New York State Office of Cannabis Management.
  2. New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

Page Updated 12/27/2022