New York Marijuana Laws

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Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In New York, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. (45 N.Y. Laws Ann. § 3306.) Also, while not covered in this article, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in New York.

For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in New York, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in New York.

Marijuana Possession and Use Laws in New York

It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in New York. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed and whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation. (40 N.Y. Laws Ann. §§ 221.05, 221.10, 221.15, 221.25, & 221.30.)

  • Up to 25 grams. New York has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana (at least as far as first and second violations are involved). Violations are considered civil citations (similar to a traffic violation), which incur a fine, but no jail time. There is a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, and up to $200 for a second offense. Third and subsequent offenses, however, are misdemeanors, and are punishable with a fine of up to $250, up to five days in jail, or both.
  • Between 25 grams and two ounces. Penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to three months in jail, or both.
  • Between two and eight ounces. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
  • Between eight and 16 ounces. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and four years in prison, or both. Mandatory prison time applies to second offenses.
  • Between 16 ounces and ten pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and seven years in prison, or both. Mandatory prison time applies to second offenses.
  • Ten pounds or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and 15 years in prison, or both. Mandatory prison time applies to second offenses.

Manufacture and Sales

It is illegal to cultivate or sell marijuana in New York. Penalties vary according to the amount cultivated or sold. It is also a crime to give marijuana to someone else without payment (for example, as a gift), and additional penalties apply to sales to a minor. (40 N.Y. Laws Ann. §§ 221.35, 221.40, 221.45, 221.50, & 221.55.)

  • Up to two ounces without payment. Penalties include a fine of up to $500, up to three months in jail, or both.
  • Cultivating or selling up to 24 grams. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
  • Between 25 grams and four ounces. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and four years in prison, or both.
  • Between four and 16 ounces. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and seven years in jail, or both.
  • 16 ounces or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and 15 years in jail, or both.
  • Selling any amount to a minor. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, between one and seven years in jail, or both.

Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal in New York to manufacture, sell, or use drug paraphernalia (or possess paraphernalia with the intent to do so). Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both. (20 N.Y. Laws Ann. § 851.). For more information on drug laws in New York, see Possession of a Controlled Substance in New York.

The Value of Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

by: , Contributing Author

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