The state of New York has fairly complicated drug laws, and specifically possession of marijuana laws. Thought they have taken steps to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana (under 25 grams) for personal use,there are still significant penalties for larger quantities, or if you are accused of selling or distributing marijuana.
New York Marijuana Possession Laws
The laws regarding the possession of marijuana/pot in NY are pretty much the same as possessing any other drugs. However, the severity of punishment depends on the amount of possession. One other thing, the legislature does not identify marijuana as a controlled substance (like cocaine), so any laws regarding these substances are inapplicable in case of marijuana. Other than that, different amount is identified as different level of offence under the law. These levels are categorized under four classes: Non-violent felony, Felony, Misdemeanor and Violation (from www.NY.gov and www.420magazine.com).
Under New York statutes, possessing any amount of marijuana less than 10 pounds (1 to 9.9 pounds) is classified as class D Non-Violent Felony. If it is more than 10 pounds then class C Non-Violent Felony. These are second degree and first degree criminal possession respectively. However, if someone possesses between 8 and 15.9 ounces then it is a third degree class E Felony.
If the possessor has something between 2 and 7.9 ounces then they are classified under fourth degree criminal possession class A Misdemeanor.
Class B Misdemeanor is when they possess an amount between 25 gram and 1.9 ounces or possess or burn them in public, regardless of the amount.
Violation is stated when someone appears in the public under its influence or when it is owned unlawfully. The amount is regardless in this case as well.
New York Marijuana Possession Penalties
The penalties for possessing marijuana varies widely. Possessing less than 25 grams is actually civil citation and costs the offender $100 for first offense. For the second it is $200 and for third and any consecutive offences, it is $250 with/without maximum 15 days imprisonment. For B Misdemeanor the penalty is $500 fine with 3 months jail time whereas for class A it is $1000 fine or 1 year imprisonment or both. For class E Felony first offence, the penalty is 1 to 4 years jail time with/without $5000 fine. Second offence imposes 3 to 4 years.
For the class C Non-Violent Felony results in 1 to 15 years imprisonment with/without $5000. For second offence, 7 years jail time is mandatory. The penalties for D Non-Violent Felony are similar to class C.
Now let us see the penalties for sale or cultivating marijuana. For a gift of 2 ounces or less punishment is 3 months jail time with/without $300 fine. For 24 g sale, it is 1 year imprisonment with/without $1000 fine. For any amount between 25 g and 4 ounces, 1-4 years (first felony) and 3-4 years (second) with $5000 fine. Class D Felony (4-16 ounces) penalty is 1-7 years imprisonment and $5000 fine. In addition, any dirty paraphernalia possession results in 1-year imprisonment with $1000 fine.
Decimalization in New York
The state of NY has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, under 25 grams. This means no criminal penalties will be charged for the first offence. For second offence, the charges are similar to mentioned penalties. In addition, it has to be for personal use only
New York Medical Marijuana
Marijuana has not been legalized in NY for any legitimate medical use. Senate Bill: S2774 and Assembly Bill: A7347 are proposed for the legalization of marijuana for medical purpose but have not been passed.