What NY Marijuana Offenses Still Exist After Decriminalization?

The state of New York saw sweeping changes to the legal status of marijuana when new laws were implemented at the end of August 2019. These laws accomplished two things: reduction of penalties for marijuana possession and automatic expungement of convictions for those offenses. However, it is important to understand that marijuana is still illegal in New York and you can end up with criminal charges for certain activities.

The new laws affect only possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possession of less than one ounce is now a violation carrying a fine of up to $50. For an amount more than one ounce but less than two ounces, the fine can be up to $200. You can still be arrested for possessing less than two ounces of marijuana if you are from out of state and/or police are unable to identify you.

Furthermore, the new laws decriminalize possession only of the flower form of marijuana. Possession, cultivation or transfer of hash, concentrates, edibles, tinctures and oils can lead to the same criminal consequences that existed before.

It is still illegal to grow and sell marijuana unless you have a medical card. It is also illegal to smoke marijuana in public or in any place where smoking tobacco is prohibited. If you are caught smoking in public, you are still subject to a misdemeanor charge.

If you were convicted for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge prior to the end of August 2019, your record of arrest and conviction will be expunged. A conviction that is expunged will not show up on your criminal record and can’t be found by employers or anyone else running a background check. However, while expungement is supposed to be automatic, it is wise to seek representation by an experienced drug crimes attorney who can ensure it actually takes place.

The bottom line is that despite partial decriminalization, many marijuana-related offenses in the state of New York still carry criminal consequences. At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C., we have over 30 years of experience in successfully helping people with legal issues. We are a family-focused, Christian law firm committed to advancing our clients’ best interests. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online.


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