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Marijuana

In New York, marijuana offenses are relatively straightforward and set forth in Article 221 of the Penal Law. Simple possession charges are punishable, for the most part, with a violation. Sale of small quantities is punishable by misdemeanor, where as felony charges are permissible only in those cases of sale of larger amounts.

Key Penal Law Provisions:

  • Unlawful possession of marihuana, PL 221.05, a violation
  • Criminal possession of marihuana in the fifth degree, PL 221.10, a class B misdemeanor
  • Criminal possession of marihuana in the fourth degree, PL 221.15, a class A misdemeanor
  • Criminal possession of marihuana in the third degree, PL 221.20, a class E felony
  • Criminal possession of marihuana in the second degree, PL 221.25, a class D felony
  • Criminal possession of marihuana in the first degree, PL 221.30, a class C felony
  • Criminal sale of marihuana in the fifth degree, PL 221.35, a class B misdemeanor
  • Criminal sale of marihuana in the fourth degree, PL 221.40, a class A misdemeanor
  • Criminal sale of marihuana in the third degree, PL 221.25, a class E felony
  • Criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree, PL 221.50, a class D felony
  • Criminal sale of marihuana in the first degree, PL 221.55, a class C felony
Marijuana Possession

Possessing an amount of marijuana less than 25 grams of marijuana in New York is punishable only by violation. PL 221.05. The exception to the rule is where a person is found in possession of the marijuana in a “public place”, and while the marijuana is burning or open to public view. PL 221.10(1). In that case the possession is a misdemeanor. The other simple possession charges are scaled to the weight of the marijuana possessed. See PL 221.10(2) (more than 25 grams), PL 221.15 (more than 2 oz.), PL 221.20 (more than 8 oz.), PL 221.25 (more than 16 oz.), PL 221.30 (more than 10 lbs).

Marijuana Sale

The simple sale of a single marijuana cigarette or a substance containing marijuana is a class B misdemeanor. PL 221.35. Otherwise, the sale of a small amount of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor. PL 221.40. If a person sells more than 25 grams, (PL 221.45), more than 4 oz. or any amount to a person under 18 (PL 221.50), or more than 16 oz. (PL 221.55), felony charges may apply

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