Is Cannabis Legal In New York?

Despite the number of East Coast states recently allowing the use of recreational cannabis, possession of cannabis within the state of New York still remains illegal. However, the extent to which possession is charged is dependent upon the amount of cannabis found. While there is no difference between ready-to-smoke cannabis and cannabis plants in the eyes of the State, residents found with 25 grams or less will not be faced with criminal charges. Instead, those found with possession of small amounts of cannabis will be charged with a "violation" that will result in a fine ranging from $100-$250 depending upon how many times the resident has been found with possession. Still, any amount about 25 grams in public view or possession over 2 oz can result in incarceration.

While the decriminalization of possession laws in New York undergo transition, the state continues to allow the use of medicinal marijuana. Since the passing of the "Compassionate Care Act" in 2014, patients suffering from specific conditions are allowed to legally obtain marijuana as part of their treatment. Those with a registered medical marijuana card are allowed to purchase up to a 30 day supply of cannabis, however, only non-smokable preparations are allowed. Card carriers are also not permitted to cultivate plants in their home. There is over 10,000 registered card carrying patients in the state of New York and a number of dispensaries throughout the state. It is important to keep in mind that only residents of New York are permitted to apply for medical marijuana cards within the state and that no amount of cannabis purchased within the state with a medical marijuana card can be taken outside of state lines.

While the restrictions regarding medical marijuana have been loosened in the past year, the state still shows no sign of embracing full legalization.


“Break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John MuirSan Diego-based fitness enthusiast Sara Hamala leads biweekly cannabis and hiking excursions. Her group, @TeamCannababes, meets at a designated natural spot and starts with a round of introductions to break the ice.

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