New York City arrests for drug crimes involving cannabis will soon be a thing of the past. New York came close to legalizing marijuana use by all adults in 2018 and is expected to complete the process in 2019.
One of the first moves in favor of broadly legalizing adult marijuana use was taken by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance on May 15, 2018. He announced that as of August 1, 2018, his office would no longer prosecute criminal cases where the only charge is minor marijuana possession or public smoking.
In June, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an official statement that New York police would stop arresting and fingerprinting people for the sole offense of smoking marijuana in public. While public marijuana use is a class B misdemeanor crime under New York state law, as of September 1, 2018, offenders would receive a criminal court summons for unlawful possession of marijuana (25g or less). The summons requires a court appearance, but because the charge is only a violation, the maximum penalty is a fine of $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second offense. In addition, a violation does not leave the offender with a criminal drug conviction on their record.
In July 2018, the state’s medical marijuana program got a boost when the health department issued an emergency order allowing the use of medical marijuana for acute pain relief and by people in treatment for opioid use disorder. The number of certified patients rose 18% in the following two months.
Also in July, the health department issued an important report titled “Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in New York State.” The report concluded that the “positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced in December 2018 that he strongly supports legalization of marijuana use by all adults in the state and that such legislation was part of his “first 100 days” agenda for 2019. While marijuana laws are changing quickly in New York, you must still be careful to avoid having any kind of drug-related arrest or conviction on your record. You do not want to take the chance of losing your job for a drug-related offense or being caught in another state with drugs that are legal in New York but not elsewhere.
Contact a Brooklyn Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested for any type of drug crime, contact a New York City criminal defense attorney to ensure that your legal rights are not violated and that you are not over-zealously prosecuted for a minor, non-violent possession offense. You can rely on the legal team at JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC to vigorously defend you against any criminal charges. Call our Manhattan office at 833-JOEYJACKSON or 833-563-9522.