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Marijuana Enforcement

What You Should Know

On August 28, 2019, marijuana laws in New York State changed. The NYPD encourages all New Yorkers to know and understand the law.

Possessing any amount of marijuana is still illegal. However, under the new law, penalties have changed.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Possession of small amounts of marijuana, up to and including two ounces, is now considered a violation;
  • Possessing over two ounces is still a misdemeanor.

In short, the amount of marijuana a person has in their possession dictates whether or not police impose criminal charges — whether or not a person consumes it in public is no longer relevant.

Penalties

Under the new marijuana law, officers issue criminal court summonses instead of making arrests, in most situations. However, if a person possesses over two ounces of marijuana, they are subject to arrest.

There are certain situations in which a person who has less than two ounces of marijuana could be arrested. For example, if the subject:

  • Cannot be properly identified;
  • Has an outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrant.

Driving Under the Influence

As a matter of public safety, officers are empowered to arrest people they believe are driving under the influence of marijuana, once they have established probable cause. When officers make this determination, they consider several different factors, including:

  1. The defendant's condition, appearance, balance, coordination, and manner of speech;
  2. Whether an odor of marijuana is coming from the suspect's vehicle, and;
  3. The manner in which the suspect operated the vehicle.

It is dangerous and illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, in any context.