Whether you have recently been cited for marijuana possession or you are facing drug charges in Rochester that include marijuana-related charges, it is critical to understand how New York marijuana drug laws currently work, and how potential changes to the law could impact your case. Currently, recreational marijuana is not legal in New York, but medical marijuana is legal. In 2019, New York decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but it is still possible to face criminal charges for marijuana possession in Rochester and throughout the state. The following are five things you should know about marijuana charges in Rochester, New York. And if you are facing criminal charges for marijuana possession, it is critical to have an aggressive Rochester drug defense attorney on your side.
1. Medical Marijuana is Legal, But You Must Be Registered with the New York Department of Health
Medical marijuana is legal in New York under the Compassionate Care Act, but it is only legal for people with certain conditions. Moreover, anyone who has one of the qualifying conditions still must register with the New York Department of Health and must obtain certification. Otherwise, marijuana possession is not permitted.
2. You Can Face Marijuana Charges If You Do Not Fulfill the Requirements Under the Compassionate Care Act
To be clear, even if you have a validly diagnosed medical condition that qualifies you for lawful possession of medical marijuana, if you do not fulfill the requirements under the Compassionate Care Act and New York’s Medical Marijuana Program Regulations, you can face marijuana charges just as anyone else without a qualifying medical condition can.
3. Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana Has Been Decriminalized
Under changes to New York law in 2019, small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized. What this means is that, if you have less than one ounce of marijuana, you will face only a citation with a $50 fine. If you have between one and two ounces of marijuana, you will be cited and fined up to $200. However, greater amounts still carry criminal charges.
4. Possession of Larger Amounts of Marijuana Can Still Result in Criminal Charges
As we noted above, possessing two ounces or more of marijuana still comes with criminal charges, and possession of eight or more ounces is still a felony offense.
5. Even if Recreational Marijuana is Soon Legalized, You Still Need to Defend Against Your Charges Now
Governor Cuomo recently said that 2021 will be the year that recreational marijuana is legalized in New York, according to an NBC News report. However, if you are currently facing marijuana possession charges in Rochester, you need to know that the eventual legalization of recreational marijuana—even if it occurs in less than a year—will not impact the current charges you are facing. In the present, you still need to defend against marijuana possession charges or you could be facing steep fines and jail time depending upon the amount allegedly in your possession and the specific charges you are facing.
Contact a Rochester Drug Defense Attorney
When you are facing drug charges, you should hire an experienced Rochester drug defense attorney who can evaluate the specific facts of your case and can develop a defense strategy that is tailored to those facts. A drug conviction can have long-lasting consequences, and it is important to do everything you can to beat the charges you are facing. Contact King Law today for more information.