Many states throughout the country have legalized the medicinal or recreational use of cannabis. Although the State of New York has legalized medical marijuana for individuals who have certain qualifying conditions (e.g. acute or chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.), recreational use is still against the law.
However, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law in August 2019 that decriminalized the recreational use and possession of marijuana, making possession of low amounts of cannabis punishable by a fine, rather than jail time. In addition, nearly 160,000 individuals who have been convicted of low-level pot crimes were given the opportunity to expunge their criminal records.
The following are the criminal penalties for cannabis use and possession in New York, according to weight:
- One ounce – Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is punishable by a maximum fine of $50.
- Between more than one ounce and two ounces – Possession of this amount of marijuana carries a maximum fine of $200.
- Between more than two and eight ounces – Possession of this amount of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000.
- Between more than eight ounces and one pound – Possession of this amount is a felony offense, which carries a prison sentence of up to four years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
- Between more than one pound and 10 pounds – Possession of this amount is a felony, punishable by a prison term of up to seven years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
- More than 10 pounds – Possession of this amount is a felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Keep in mind, possession of less than a quarter (¼) of an ounce of concentrates or hash is a misdemeanor offense, which can result in a jail term of up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000. If the police discover any marijuana in plain view, you are subject to a $200 fine.
Sale of less than two grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum jail term of three months and a fine of up to $500. Trafficking any amount is a felony offense, which can lead to a maximum prison term of 25 years and a fine no more than $100,000.