Ever since states like Washington, California, Vermont, and Massachusetts have legalized marijuana for recreational use, New York has been contemplating following suit. For now, medical marijuana is legal in New York state, and state senators were preparing to move forward with legalization until the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit. While Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law in 2019 that amended some penalties for marijuana possession and for the automatic expungement of low-level cannabis-related convictions, it can still be confusing to understand New York’s marijuana laws. If you’ve been charged with a drug offense related to the possession or sale of marijuana, here’s what you need to know.
Possessing less than two ounces of marijuana for personal use is now only punishable by a fine. If more than two ounces—but fewer than 8 ounces—are found in your possession, you may be charged with a class A misdemeanor, which carries the potential of a one-year jail sentence and/or a $1,000 fine. Possession of between 8 ounces and 16 ounces is considered a class E felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to four years and a fine of up to $5,000. These consequences grow more serious as the number of marijuana increases.
Charges Involving the Sale of Marijuana
Depending on the circumstances of the alleged sale, you could face various types of charges and consequences for selling marijuana. If the amount of marijuana is less than two grams, this is considered a class B misdemeanor that can be punishable by up to three months in jail. Selling less than 25 grams is typically considered a class A misdemeanor, which carries the potential of a one-year jail sentence and/or a $1,000 fine. In general, the greater the amount of marijuana that’s involved in the sale, the more serious the charges will be. It’s also important to recognize that selling marijuana to anyone under the age of 18 is a class D felony, which can carry a jail sentence of up to 7 years and a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted.
Defending Your Freedom
Although there have been small steps towards decriminalizing—and perhaps eventually legalizing—marijuana for recreational use in New York, you can still face charges if marijuana is found in your possession or you’ve been accused of selling it to someone else. As soon as you can, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your options for protecting your future and your freedom. Cases involving drug crimes can be complex, so it’s best to work with a trusted legal professional who will work hard to secure you the best possible outcome given the circumstances.
If you or someone you love is currently facing drug charges in the Queens or greater New York area, call the Law Office of Adrienne D. Edward, P.C. at (347) 997-3811 today to speak with a dedicated and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.