Marijuana legalization is a hotly contested topic all over the nation. While New York seems to be moving towards marijuana legalization, we’re not there yet. Marijuana use and possession has been decriminalized to some degree, but this has only led good people to making some big mistakes which can get them into real trouble.
Read on to find out if you’re in danger of becoming one of them.
#1) “Oh, it’s legal now.”
In 2017 18,000 New Yorkers were arrested for possession. As mentioned, marijuana is not yet legal in the state of New York.
So why are people confused?
In part, it’s because marijuana possession has been somewhat decriminalized. There is a difference between decriminalizing something and making it legal. If you have less than 25 grams of marijuana and it’s not “in plain view” you can be issued a ticket and a fine instead. This violation will still end up on your record, where it can be accessed by employers or other organizations who might conduct a background check.
See our marijuana defense page for more details. We do not recommend handling these tickets yourself. They are not like traffic tickets. The courts also track the number of offenses you plead guilty to. You could start seeing jail time after your third offense. It’s important to have a good defense lined up right away.
#2) “If I hand a little to my friend, it’s no big deal.”
You didn’t get paid for it, but handing a joint to your buddy could still mean you’re guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. If the joint contains more than 2 grams of marijuana you could be looking at a Class A misdemeanor.
Licensed dispensaries can sell medical marijuana under some pretty strict conditions (see below).
#3) “But it’s for my migraines!”
Keep in mind dispensaries in New York are only allowed to sell tinctures, oils, and capsules…not smokable marijuana. If you’re caught with a joint you’re not going to be able to use your medical conditions as a defense.
In addition, the list of conditions that could qualify you for a “green card” is short. You’ll need to jump through some hoops to get yours. This means gathering up your medical records, receiving a certification from a qualified doctor, and applying for the privilege. If you haven’t taken these steps you can’t purchase marijuana legally, even at a dispensary.
#4) “Nobody cares about marijuana anymore.”
Someday soon this may be true. Right now it’s not. Police aren’t likely to overlook your marijuana violation, and you could still end up in jail if you are indulging in weed. If you get arrested for possession you could spend time in jail, you could be convicted, and you can watch your whole life change.
Fortunately, we are experienced at defending clients against marijuana charges. Don’t leave your freedom up to chance. If you’re in marijuana-related trouble, contact us today. And if you’re a habitual user of marijuana, consider keeping our number handy in your phone…just in case.