New York Marijuana Laws
Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated October 27, 2020
While medical and recreational marijuana has become legalized in more states, New York’s marijuana laws remain mostly intact, with changes focused primarily on medical marijuana.
New York’s Recreational Marijuana Laws and Penalties
New York’s drug laws are complex. There are half a dozen multiple classes laid out for drug possession alone.В With that caveat, the basic provisions of New York marijuana laws are listed in the table below. See FindLaw’s Drug Charges section to learn more.
Public Health Code Sections 3306, 3307
Up to 1 ounce (possession in the second degree) – civil violation that incurs fines of no more than 50 dollars but no jail time
1 toВ 2 ounces (possession in the first degree)В – Civil violation punishable by not more than 200 dollars.
2 to 8 ounces – up to one year in jail and/or $1,000 fine
8 to 16 ounces – 1-4 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses)
16 ounces to 10 pounds – 1-7 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses)
10 pounds or more – 1-15 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses)
Up to two ounces without payment – up to three months in jail and/or up to $500 fine
Cultivating or selling up to 24 grams – up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine
25 grams to four ounces – 1-4 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine
4 to 16 ounces – 1-7 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine
16 ounces or more – 1-15 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine
Selling any amount to a minor – 1-7 years in jail and/or up to $5,000 fine
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Medical Marijuana Laws in New York
New York allows for the limited use of medical marijuana within the state. No more than twenty dispensaries can operate statewide. Those facilities are able to prescribe non-smokable preparations (i.e. tinctures, edibles) of marijuana to people with cancer, glaucoma, or other diseases on a state list.
Research the Law
- New York Code
- Official State Codes – Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
New York Marijuana Laws: Related Resources
- Medical Marijuana: An Overview
- Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation
- New York Criminal Statute of Limitations
Arrested Under New York Marijuana Laws? Talk to an Attorney
States have generally loosened their marijuana laws, but it’s still a crime to sell, grow, or possess cannabis in New York. If you’ve been charged with a marijuana-related crime, penalties upon conviction (or after a guilty plea) may vary quite a bit. Your best bet is to contact a skilled drug crime lawyer in New York who can explain how the state’s marijuana laws apply to your specific circumstances and provide you with your options moving forward.
Chart providing details of New York Marijuana Laws. Check out more about this and related topics at FindLaw's New York Criminal Laws section.
New York Marijuana Laws
Updated July 2019
The state of New York has made significant progress when it comes to marijuana reform, becoming the 23rd state in the union to legalize medical marijuana in 2014. However, the state has been criticized for limitations on its policies, and cannabis advocates and pro-cannabis lawmakers have continued to work for further progress. Learn more about New York marijuana laws.
Recreational Marijuana in New York
Is marijuana legal in New York? No– recreational marijuana remains illegal. However, small amounts are considered a civil offense rather than a criminal one. Since the 1970s, possession of fewer than 25 grams has been decriminalized in New York.
In July 2019, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo further decriminalized marijuana. Under the new law, offenders caught with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana will be issued a ticket for $50. Those caught with between one and two ounces of marijuana will be cited a ticket for $200. Anyone caught with more than two ounces will be charged with a misdemeanor. The bill also automatically expunges many low-level marijuana convictions across the state.
Cuomo has endorsed full recreational marijuana legalization and has pushed state lawmakers to present him with a bill to sign. Negotiations on a marijuana legalization bill continued up until days before the legislative session came to an end in June 2019, but efforts fell short. Instead, lawmakers compromised and approved the decriminalization measure.
Medical Marijuana in New York
The State of New York did legalize medical marijuana in 2014 with the passing of the Compassionate Care Act (Assembly Bill 6357). Patients must obtain a certification for medical marijuana from a physician that is registered with the Medical Marijuana Program.
Under the law, registered patients with a qualifying condition have access to a 30-day supply of non-smokable marijuana products, including capsules, liquids, and oil for vaporization or administration via an inhaler. On August 10, 2017, officials at the Department of Health announced the expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program to also permit chewable and effervescent tablets and lozenges as well as topical lotions, ointments, and patches.
As of July 2019, there are 40 open and operating dispensaries throughout the state. Home cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is not permitted under the law.
In New York, the following conditions are approved for medical marijuana access:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Chronic Pain
- HIV / AIDS
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Opioid Replacement
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Spinal Cord Damage Causing Spasticity
The Department of Health commissioner is charged with to adding or removing qualifying conditions. The department has previously considered and refused to add Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
In September 2018, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that allows medical marijuana to be used as an alternative to opioids for acute pain management. The bill also allows substance use disorder treatment providers to recommend medical marijuana to manage pain that encourages opioid use.
As of July 30, 2019, there are 104,775 patients certified by practitioners and 2,430 physicians that have registered for the NYS Medical Marijuana Program.
CBD Hemp Oil in New York
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in New York
The personal cultivation of cannabis for personal or medical use remains illegal. Five licensed producers provide the supply of cannabis for New York’s medical marijuana program.
New York State did pass Senate Bill 7047 in 2014 to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes. Growers must be certified and approved by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Up to 10 additional sites, authorized by the commissioner, can be approved for growth and cultivation of hemp.
A bill to legalize the commercial production of hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD passed both chambers of the New York Legislature in June 2019, but it remains unclear whether Cuomo will sign it into law.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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