While medical and recreational marijuana gets legalized in more states (Colorado and Washington to start), New York's marijuana laws remain mostly intact. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance in New York, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. Indeed, New York City arrested more than 40,000 people for marijuana in 2008 alone.
New York allows for the limited use of medical marijuana within the state, with a maximum of 20 dispensaries allowed to operate. Those facilities would be able to prescribe non-smokable preparations (i.e. tinctures, edibles) of marijuana to people with cancer, glaucoma or other diseases on a state list, but it would be much harder to get than in states like California.
Based on this legislative history, New York's drug laws are complex, even convoluted. There are half a dozen different classes of felonies laid out for drug possession alone. It's imperative to consult an experienced New York drug crime attorney if you are charged with a drug offense.
With that caveat, the basic provisions of New York marijuana laws are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Drug Charges section to learn more.
Penal Law Section 220, et seq.;
Up to 25 grams - civil violation that incurs fines but no jail time
25 grams to 2 ounces - up to three months in jail and/or $500 fine
2 to 8 ounces - up to one year in jail and/or $1,000 fine
8 to 16 ounces - 1-4 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses)
16 ounces to 10 pounds - 1-7 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses)
10 pounds or more - 1-15 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses)
Up to two ounces without payment - up to three months in jail and/or up to $500 fine
Cultivating or selling up to 24 grams - up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine
25 grams to four ounces - 1-4 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine
4 to 16 ounces - 1-7 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine
16 ounces or more - 1-15 years in prison and/or up $5,000 fine
(Selling any amount to a minor - 1-7 years in jail and/or up to $5,000 fine.)
Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through statutory changes but sometimes through ballot initiatives or judicial proceedings. Contacting a New York drug crime attorney is your best course of action, as well as conducting exhaustive legal research to verify where you fall under the statute.
Research the Law
New York Marijuana Laws: Related Resources
Arrested Under New York Marijuana Laws? Talk to an Attorney
States have generally loosened their marijuana laws, but it's still a crime to sell, grow, or possess cannabis in New York. If you've been charged with a marijuana-related crime, penalties upon conviction (or after a guilty plea) may vary quite a bit. Your best bet is to contact a skilled drug crime lawyer in New York who can explain how the state's marijuana laws apply to your specific circumstances and provide you with your options moving forward.
Contact a qualified attorney.