How Marijuana Law Updates Could Affect You

Posted on: June 16, 2018

Marijuana Law

A study began in January 2018, spearheaded by Governor Cuomo and is expected to conclude in the fall of 2018. The study is striving to determine whether legalizing marijuana in New York is a smart legislative move.  Previously, Governor Cuomo has fiercely advocated against legalizing marijuana.

Now, with both New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Vermont considering legalized marijuana use, New York is experiencing the pressure to conform.  In fact, the governor of New Jersey made legalizing marijuana a major issue when running for office.

Understanding the facts

As of now, marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 substance, which means it has a potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value.  In 2008, a study was conducted that showed in New York City alone, 40,000 people had been arrested for possession of marijuana.  New York drug laws are one of the most complex and convoluted in the country.  There are dozens of different types of classes and degrees of drug charges in New York.

As a result, hiring a marijuana possession lawyer is essential if you are charged with a marijuana crime, this is the best way to minimize the consequences and lasting effects of the conviction. Currently, violating a marijuana possession law results in consequences that are dependent on the number of grams you have. These amounts range from 0-25 grams up to 10 pounds of marijuana.

Be aware of the policy changes

Due to the number of arrests and convictions based on possession of this substance, changes in the prosecution and treatment of marijuana possession is inevitable and possibly needed.  In some of the other states, like Washington and Colorado, the impact on marijuana legalization has included the following:

  • In Washington, crime reached an all time 40-year low, violent crime is down 10% and the murder rate reduced by 13 percent
  • Increase in traffic related-insurance claims due to driving under the influence by about 2.7 percent
  • Decreases in teen and underage cannabis use
  • Economic benefit to the state increased in the hundreds of millions of dollars range, permitting more funding of other state agencies such as education, crime prevention, substance abuse programs, and community health centers
  • Opioid related deaths decreased
  • Increase in workplace safety

The legalization and change in marijuana laws can have significant effects on citizens of their state to access marijuana more easily without the repercussions they currently face.  However, these laws have not been enacted yet, so it is very important to contact a marijuana possession lawyer if you are charged with possession.

Seek professional guidance

Governor Cuomo did sign the Compassionate Care Act in 2014 allowing for medical marijuana to treat a small number of ailments.  There are five current organizations that are permitted to administer marijuana in the state, and those five organizations operate out of 20 facilities throughout New York.  The governor will only permit 20 dispensaries; however, this number of dispensaries is expected to serve 19 million New York residents. 

As the number of individuals that need or would like to use marijuana for alternative ailments, Governor Cuomo has recognized the need to consider broadening marijuana use laws. For the residents of New York, legalization of marijuana would have significant impacts, as it has in other states that have taken a similar route. 

However, because the laws will continue to remain complex, it is important to contact a marijuana possession lawyer if you have been arrested or charged with possession.  Having an advocate that understands the law will ensure that your rights and case are adequately protected.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.