Legal Bud

Clarifying NY State Decriminalization and Marijuana Possession Related Penalties

Written by greenmachine on October 9th, 2019

There has been some confusion and misinformation circulating about what New York’s latest expansion of marijuana decriminalization means and what impact it will have on criminal prosecutions going forward. 

 

The Short Synopsis of the Offenses and Sentences 

There are 2 provisions of New York’s Penal Law that relate marijuana-related offenses. Penal Law 220 relates to “controlled substances” offenses which include possession of “concentrated cannabis” which is defined as being more than 2 1/2% by volume of the total volume of cannabis seized. PL 220 then imposes escalating grades of punishment depending on the weight of concentrated cannabis. Simple possession of a very small amount of ‘concentrated cannabis’ is an A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. But, possession of just 1/4 ounce of concentrated cannabis is a D Felony and punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment. 

Penal Law 221 is far more lenient as it specifically relates to cannabis flower penalizing possession based on the pure weight of the flower (minus root balls, stems, stalks, seeds, etc), not its chemical potency like PL 220 does. It too has escalating grades of punishment, but as of August 28, 2019, now permits much greater amounts to be possessed up to 2 ounces before a misdemeanor crime is actually committed. Possession of flower does not become a felony offense unless the defendant is in possession of more than 8 ounces with a corresponding maximum jail term of 4 years. 

As of August 28, 2019, public consumption and possession of up to two ounces of cannabis flower is punishable as a marijuana possession violation (not a crime) and the sentence of that offense is a monetary fine up to $200 under Penal Law 221. However, possession or public consumption of wax, shatter, hashish, and/or cannabis oil which is more than 2 1/2% THC by volume, otherwise possessed in any amount, is still punishable as a “controlled substances” crime under Penal Law 220 which results in dramatically different consequences. 

In addition to the potential length of incarceration, a significant difference between those two penal provisions under which marijuana-related offenses may be charge is that when charged under Penal Law 221, the criminal defendant may, over the objection of the prosecutor, request pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law 170.55 or 170.56 asking the court to adjourn the case in contemplation of dismissal (“ACD” or “MACD”). That means that if the person is not rearrested in a 6-12 month period, then the charges will automatically dismiss and all the records sealed as if the case never happened. 

By contrast, a criminal defendant charged with a controlled substances offense for possession of “concentrated cannabis” (hash, oil, wax, shatter, etc) under Penal Law 220 cannot ask the Court to adjourn the charges in contemplation of dismissal and the court cannot do so without the consent of the Prosecutor. So, the criminal defendant is really at the mercy of the Assistant District Attorney who is handling the case. Worse, if convicted of the controlled substances misdemeanor under PL 220, in addition to the risk of incarceration, there are mandatory fines and surcharges as well as DNA fees and sample collections that can be imposed. Such convictions may not be subject to the newly enacted expungement provisions as they are “controlled substances” offenses and not “marijuana” offenses which were the sole targets for expungement under the new decriminalization law. 

 

Legal Provisions

New York Penal Law defines all of the violations and crimes that are punishable in New York State. Drug-related offenses fall under those provisions of the penal code that considered offenses against Public Health and Morals. Those controlled substances which constitute drug offenses are defined and identified in the Public Health Law. 

Under the Public Health Law 3302(4) “Concentrated Cannabis” is defined as: 

(a) The separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from a plant of the genus Cannabis; or 

(b) a material, preparation, mixture, compound or other substance which contains more than two and one-half (2 1/2%) by weight of delta-9 THC… 

Under PHL 3302(5) a “Controlled Substance” means any substance listed in section 3306 of the PHL. “Marihuana” is a Schedule I controlled substance under PHL 3306(d)(13). Under PHL 3302(21) “Marihuana” means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except extracted resin therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination. 

The distinguishing feature between “marihuana” and “concentrated cannabis” is greater than 2 1/2% concentration by volume requirement. Once that concentration threshold is exceeded, the arrestee may be charged with misdemeanor possession of either a controlled substance offense under PL 220 or the more lenient weight-based provisions of PL 221 that specifically pertain to marijuana. 

The 2 1/2% potency threshold is by volume, so unlike other drugs, the medium in which it is contained, ie, the glass vial, pipe, etc., should not be weighed to raise the potential penalty since the inclusion of the weight of the medium may in fact reduce the potency determination as the wax, oil, etc, thereby reducing the concentration calculation. 

While the Public Health Law 3306 and Penal Law 220 and 221 each address cannabis oil derived from the stalks and stems (but not the seeds), and resin, the determining feature is the 2 1/2% by volume threshold of demarcation to constitute a controlled substances offense. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, any oil or flower with less than 0.3 THC by volume , is now deemed to be legal and that determination will be binding on the states due to Congress’ ‘commerce clause’ and power to regulate interstate commerce. 

That means that in New York State, personal possession of any flower or oil which falls between 0.3% THC and 2 1/2% THC by volume should be prosecutable only under the more lenient provisions of Penal Law 221. 

The sentences for each provision of the Penal Law are found in Penal Law 70.00 et seq. 

Comments are closed.


  • celecoxib uv method
  • kaletra hiv medication
  • escitalopram patient reviews
  • hep c incivek
  • lortab hydrocodone hydrochloride vicodin hydrocodone bitartrate
  • long can you use patanol
  • tamiflu bula original
  • flovent diskus 50 coupon
  • exforge overdose
  • celecoxib patent expiration
  • viread kaletra
  • prometrium and weight loss
  • methocarbamol vs metaxalone
  • epipen emt
  • aldactone antagonist
  • temodar and avastin for melanoma
  • budesonide suspension dosage
  • dosage flagyl tooth abscess
  • doxazosin cardura dosage
  • i c cefadroxil side effects
  • flovent 100 side effects
  • zyban sigara b?±rakma hap?±
  • indomethacin headache side effect
  • decadron for children
  • klonopin alcohol lexapro
  • is ezetimibe a statin
  • anastrozole pregnancy
  • depakote for generalized anxiety disorder
  • interactions between warfarin fish oil
  • mefloquine dosage cdc
  • rash lamotrigine symptoms
  • prilosec pill color
  • provigil official website
  • ondansetron dexamethasone stability
  • neurontin nutrient depletions
  • baclofen meccanismo d'azione
  • avandia rosiglitazone maleate tablets
  • isotretinoin in mexico
  • serevent black box
  • triamcinolone hydrochlorothiazide
  • compare actonel alendronate
  • amphetamine salt combo 15 mg tab
  • cefdinir medication side effects
  • panadol 3 week old
  • telmisartan long term side effects
  • can you overdose thorazine
  • catapres tts-3 side effects
  • avelox 400mg tab schering
  • procardia kidney stones
  • imdur product information
  • efek samping obat furosemide
  • en wikipedia org wiki lamotrigine
  • geodon withdrawal nausea
  • veramyst side effects
  • desogen 30 mcg
  • ofloxacin physical properties
  • can you take relafen with ibuprofen
  • taking prilosec 10 years
  • taking phenergan zofran together
  • renova spa riu panama
  • hyponatremia due to an additive effect of carbamazepine and clarithromycin
  • how does creon abuse power
  • tadalis soft gelatin capsules
  • atarax fatal overdose
  • forteo causes weight gain
  • rebif injection site side effects
  • imipramine adhd
  • 5882036892
  • hydroxyzine hcl 25 for dogs
  • compare lovastatin pravastatin and simvastatin
  • lisinopril bijsluiter
  • pentoxifylline advanced cirrhosis
  • coreg lopressor conversion
  • remicade sales canada
  • what are patanol eye drops used for
  • herceptin drug class
  • acetazolamide pka
  • nifedipine alternatives
  • suprax pid
  • olmesartan y candesartan
  • linezolid product monograph
  • what is tadacip 20 mg
  • amitiza available india
  • montelukast for children
  • aripiprazole long work
  • pms sulfasalazine ec 500 mg
  • tetracycline mrsa dosage
  • canesten clotrimazole men
  • trileptal for bipolar ii
  • nursing care plan for digoxin toxicity
  • celexa vs pamelor
  • cefuroxime nursing mothers
  • buy oxycodone australia
  • remicade uc indication
  • what is in prevnar 7
  • hydroxyzine hydrochloride atarax
  • pilocarpine permanent miosis
  • linezolid fentanyl interaction
  • pantoprazole esomeprazole
  • nolvadex testosterone levels
  • tamsulosin dosage kidney stones
  • paroxetine is it a narcotic
  • hydroxyurea compared with anagrelide in high-risk essential thrombocythemia
  • long after using flonase can blow my nose
  • ethambutol take
  • tegretol zonegran
  • acetazolamide migraine aura
  • terramycin for honey bees
  • can i take omeprazole 2 times a day
  • amitriptyline testicular pain
  • 4295381219
  • voltaren pills used
  • periactin baby
  • clozapine panic attacks
  • mayo clinic hydroxyurea side effects
  • topiramate vs propranolol migraine prophylaxis
  • leflunomide bk virus kidney transplant
  • epipen age
  • amantadine oseltamivir and zanamivir for the treatment of influenza
  • voltaren emulgel leaflet
  • nexium prevacid same drug class
  • femara twins iui
  • atenolol or bystolic
  • amlodipine urinary retention
  • valerian and trazodone
  • herceptin cancer medicine
  • propecia neurological damage
  • tamsulosin toxicity
  • tylenol 3 with codeine and vicodin
  • apotex plavix damages
  • fluvoxamine ocd reviews
  • sucralfate 1 gm watson 780
  • imitrex injection for cluster headaches
  • clomid challenge test egg quality
  • asacol 800 side effects
  • how much does neulasta shot cost
  • metronidazole antabuse effect
  • stopping nexium diarrhea
  • normal dose of iv lasix
  • coversyl drug company
  • cellcept multiple sclerosis treatment
  • duloxetine side effects withdrawal
  • para que se usa celecoxib 200 mg
  • vytorin chronic kidney disease
  • treat allergic reaction ampicillin
  • elavil dosage peripheral neuropathy
  • dosage chart for xyzal
  • maxalt mlt generic
  • metoclopramide lawsuits
  • ivabradine vs amlodipine
  • deltasone for acne
  • serevent glaxo
  • bactrim dosing for mrsa infection
  • fentora vs onsolis
  • terbinafine absorption
  • remicade wiki side effects
  • viread hepatitis c
  • ambien ativan side effects
  • atarax drug test
  • generic zovirax cream available
  • safety of vigamox in pregnancy
  • rohypnol facts
  • elmiron mayo clinic
  • epipen case
  • side effects of astelin spray
  • cephalexin with food or without food
  • pyridium rash
  • tofranil missed dose
  • pozato uni levonorgestrel 1 5 mg
  • side effects of metoprolol er succinate 50 mg
  • buy thorazine
  • avastin ribbon 2 trial
  • astellas access program prograf
  • coumadin 10 mg tablet
  • can mix biaxin juice
  • history use rohypnol
  • renagel formulation
  • abacavir sulfate wiki
  • arava headaches
  • uroxatral medication side effects
  • diferencia entre ondansetron y metoclopramida
  • anafranil doses
  • dapsone gel price
  • valium dosage compared to xanax
  • side effects depo provera shot while pregnant
  • triamcinolone 0.1 solution
  • tretinoin gel 0.01 for acne
  • asacol hd patient assistance
  • oktay usta yaz yemekleri tarifleri
  • joint pain after vicodin
  • nuvaring uterus pain
  • deltasone shot
  • calcitriol 50000 units
  • ramipril patient.co.uk
  • carafate and lanoxin
  • carafate prescription assistance
  • estrace 0.5 mg tablet
  • ribavirin hemolytic anemia
  • kriptoloji yaz okulu 2012 lise
  • indomethacin hydrocodone gout
  • carafate generic
  • clobex hair
  • baclofen prescribing information
  • clozapine heart block
  • artane google maps
  • patanol eye drops not working
  • augmentin medicamente
  • triamcinolone toddlers
  • side effects adipex p 37.5
  • wellbutrin sr neck pain
  • meloxicam y warfarina
  • tegretol levels too low
  • lotemax eye drops blepharitis
  • atacand alcohol consumption
  • protonix po dose
  • famvir antiviral medication
  • bystolic retail price
  • alendronate sodium 5 mg tablet
  • periactin used for increased appetite
  • nursing drug card trazodone
  • lariam.net
  • dulcolax 5 mg dose
  • amitriptyline dose cats
  • astra xylocaine msds
  • metoclopramide withdrawal side effects
  • does klonopin show urine test
  • trilipix coupon 5 coupon
  • order hydrochlorothiazide online
  • amphetamine dextroamphetamine dosage
  • boniva snl skit
  • levonorgestrel abortifacient
  • uses phenazopyridine hydrochloride
  • famotidine onset of action
  • bupropion nhs depression
  • ciprofloxacin patient leaflet
  • reactine allergy cetirizine
  • zantac ranitidine hydrochloride 150 mg
  • labetalol nipple pain
  • imipramine hcl erowid
  • cytotec-miscarriage-blighted ovum
  • can you take ibuprofen lexapro
  • zyprexa and geodon together
  • mircette v. yaz
  • can you take skelaxin tylenol together
  • intuniv dosing by weight
  • aricept 23 mg generic
  • rythmol pill in pocket
  • is atenolol potassium sparing
  • pka chlorhydrate lidocaine
  • accupril high blood pressure
  • arava patient reviews
  • carbamazepine vitamin k pregnancy
  • buy benazepril-hctz
  • colchicine iv back pain
  • symptoms taking glucophage
  • xylocaine jelly 2 uporaba
  • prevacid suspension
  • buy testim testosterone gel
  • is ranexa a beta blocker
  • cefadroxil for acne
  • mometasone furoate ointment breastfeeding
  • can u get high off anaprox
  • tolterodine nursing implications
  • generic valacyclovir versus valtrex
  • medicine benazepril
  • cialis c 10
  • alendronate rabbit ctx
  • ddavp medication dogs
  • karolinska valcyte
  • weight loss while arimidex
  • bula do lioresal
  • how well does elmiron work
  • tramadol and opana
  • singulair 4 mg vs 5 mg
  • effexor as a treatment for hot flashes
  • trileptal therapeutic range bipolar
  • can zofran make you sleepy
  • how to give amiodarone in cardiac arrest
  • alesse irregular period
  • how much does iv zyvox cost
  • cefuroxime zinnat dosage
  • dosis de enalapril en hipertension
  • lotemax 0.5 ophthalmic suspension
  • novo-venlafaxine other names
  • liquid cephalexin shelf life
  • prednisolone dose for feline asthma
  • imdur renal failure
  • nortriptyline dosage for insomnia
  • asthma attack ventolin not working
  • field trial fenofibrate results
  • prednisolone sun sensitivity
  • famciclovir suppressive therapy
  • oxycodone laxative
  • nhs prozac side effects
  • side effects of ovral l contraceptive pills
  • periactin tension headaches
  • efavirenz nightmares
  • use of allopurinol in acute gout
  • sinemet manufacturing problems
  • betamethasone valerate cream pregnancy
  • antivert meclizine dose
  • provigil memory
  • 4018579211
  • estrace how long does it take to work
  • moxifloxacin uti
  • will combivir become generic
  • altace edema
  • hcpcs code for xylocaine injection