According to the FBI database, law enforcement made over 700,000 Marijuana related Arrests in 2014. With 90% of those arrests for possession of marijuana alone. This number was up significantly from 2013 with 609,000 marijuana arrests. Coinciding with recreational use legalization enacted in Colorado and Washington in 2012, it is not surprising that possession of marijuana arrests are on the rise as the stigma formally associated with its use has diminished.
Several additional States have followed Colorado and Washington’s recreational use legislation: In 2015, Alaska and Oregon legalized recreational Marijuana. Recently in 2016, California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts legalized recreational Marijuana via ballot initiatives (however, these laws are not yet implemented). Even more confusing is that while most of this legislation is geared towards legalizing the possession of marijuana in small personally owned amounts, none of it addresses the way or means a person may acquire the marijuana. Thus, leaving the door open for the purchase, sale and or cultivation of marijuana to remain illegal.
In New York State, while medical use Marijuana is permitted with limitations, recreational use, possession, sale and manufacture of Marijuana remain illegal activities. The following list summarizes the amounts and possible sentences for a Possession related Marijuana Arrest.
N.Y.S. Penal Law § 220 and; Pub. Health §3306, 3307
Possession of Marijuana
- Up to 25 grams not in public view – 1st offense – $100.00 fine, 2nd offense – $200.00, 3rd offense a fine of up to $250.00 or imprisonment up to (15) fifteen days in Jail. PL § 221.05 UPM (Unlawful Possession of Marijuana) (Violation).
- Up to 25 grams displayed publically in open view – up to three (3) months in Jail and/or $500.00 fine. PL § 221.10.1 CPM (Criminal Possession of Marijuana) 5th degree (B Misdemeanor)
- 25 grams to 2 ounces – up to three months in jail and/or $500 fine. PL § 221.10.2 CPM 5th degree (B Misdemeanor).
- 2 to 8 ounces – up to (1) one year in jail and/or $1,000 fine. PL § 221.15 CPM 4th degree (A Misdemeanor).
- 8 to 16 ounces – 1-4 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses). PL §221.20 CPM 3rd degree (E Felony).
- 16 ounces to 10 pounds – 1-7 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses). PL § 221.25 CPM 2nd degree (D Felony).
- 10 pounds or more – 1-15 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 fine (mandatory prison time for second offenses) PL § 221.30 CPM 1st degree (C Felony).
It is noteworthy that the first offense, PL § 221.05 UPM (Unlawful Possession of Marijuana) is a violation, and under NYS law it is not a criminal conviction. However, a third conviction of UPM within three (3) years can result in Jail sentence of up to 15 days. A conviction for this Violation also carries additional conditions not found in other Penal violations. Such as: a UPM violation is not sealable, meaning, a record is kept that is discoverable by employers, law enforcement, and licensing agencies.
If you or a family member are the subject of an arrest for possession of marijuana, you need competent legal representation to protect your rights and explore your options to put you in the best position possible. Call my office today to schedule a free no obligation consultation.