Clearing the smoke around use and possession of Marijuana in New York State

Clearing the smoke around use and possession of Marijuana in New York State.

Marijuana legalization is in today's news regularly. Medical and recreational marijuana have been legalized in a number of states. Where do things stand in New York State?

With the passage of the Compassionate Care Act in July of 2014 New York has joined the ranks of a growing number of states that have or are implementing programs to make medical marijuana avaible to certified patients with serious conditions. In New York these conditions will include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and several other. On July 31, 2015 the State approved five companies to grow and sell medical marijuana. The law requires those companies to be doing business within six months.

New York has not legalized marijuana for recreational use. New York's laws prohibiting the use, possession, sale, and cultivation of non-medical marijuana remain intact.

Additional confusion arises from the fact that New York has decriminalized marijuana in certain limited circumstances. However decriminliaztion is not legalization. You can still be arrested and charged for possession or use of marijuana. Decriminalization means that the penalty for first time possession of a small quantity of marijuana does not include prison time and does not result in a criminal record.

The penalties that you will face if you are arrested in New York for charges relating to possession of marijuana, will depend on the amount of marijuana you possessed and your intended use for it. New York law does not differentiate between the possession of plants and ready-to-use marijuana. Penalties under New York law are based entirely on the weight of the amount possessed.

It is also important to note that New York statutes prohibiting smaller quantities of marijuana are based on "aggregate weight". Under the "aggregate weight" standard of measurement, any quantity of marijuana contained within a blend weighing in excess of the specified weight satisfies the standard, though the marijuana itself is less than total weight. The nature of the criminal substance is relevant and imperative to establish a legal case, but the amount or quantity of marijuana contained within the mix is generally not. In other word "cut" counts toward overall weight.

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