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Marijuana Legalization PSA

NYPD Guidelines For Arrests Involving Marijuana


Effective March 31, 2021 New York State revamped their marijuana laws, including the possession, sale and use of marijuana. Now that marijuana use is legal in New York, the NYPD told its officers the smell of marijuana alone is no longer enough to justify a car search. Meaning if you are pulled over for a traffic violation, and the officer approaches your vehicle and smells marijuana, that alone does not justify them searching your vehicle. However, if they suspect you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and that there may be evidence of same, there is probable cause allowing them to search the passenger compartment of the vehicle. NYPD officers have also been told to refrain from getting involved if they see the exchange of marijuana on the street, unless money is involved.

Penalties For Marijuana Crimes


While consuming marijuana may no longer land you in criminal court, smoking marijuana and driving can. If the driver of a motor vehicle is under the influence of marijuana, this could lead to criminal prosecution and a misdemeanor conviction with a possible sentence of imprisonment for up to one [1] year, and fines of up to one thousand dollars [$1,000.00].

Additionally, if the individuals inside that vehicle are found consuming marijuana, this can lead to a traffic ticket, with no points, but up to one hundred and fifty dollars [$150.00] in fines. While some laws surrounding marijuana have changed, others have not.

Guidelines Concerning Who Can Legally Use Marijuana In New York


The law permits the use by adults over the age of 21 to be able to possess:

  • Up to 3 ounces of marijuana in a public place,

  • 5 ounces in your residence and higher amounts if prescribed by your doctor.

  • It is still illegal to sell marijuana for compensation in New York State, you can however give lawful amounts to other people who are 21 and over as long as there is no compensation

  • You can smoke anywhere smoking is allowed: sidewalk, front stoop, and other public places (these locations are not a basis for an approach, stop, summons, arrest or search)


Persons of any age MAY NOT:

  • Drive under the influence of marijuana

  • Smoke while driving

  • Sell marijuana for compensation

  • Smoke marijuana where smoking is prohibited: bars, restaurants, childcare centers, 100 feet of a school entrance, place of employment and indoor arenas

  • Smoke marijuana in NYC parks where no smoking signs are posted


Under 21 years of age:

  • NOT PERMITTED to possess even small quantities

Contact The Marijuana Law Attorneys At Law Offices of Alan J. Schwartz, P.C.


With over forty [40] years of experience, @ajslaw is here to help. Please feel free to call the Law Offices of Alan J. Schwartz, P.C. at 516-248-6311 or contact us online for a complimentary consultation.

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