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Can I still be arrested for marijuana-related crimes?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

New York is one of the many states across the nation that has changed its laws regarding marijuana. While in the past, it was generally illegal, the new laws have given people the right to cultivate, possess and use a certain amount without fear of legal repercussions and the potential personal and professional challenges that go along with it.

Despite that, there are still limits. People can find themselves arrested and charged if they violate the newly implemented laws. It could be due to a misunderstanding or for other reasons. From the start, knowing the law is key. When there is an arrest, it is crucial to have professional representation to fight the charges.

Cannabis is now regulated and legal in New York, within limits

In late December 2022, the first legal cannabis dispensary opened in New York City. More are now open for business. People who believe that it is simply another product they can walk in and purchase without the possibility of legal problems should know that this is not the case.

The law allowing recreational marijuana use was signed in March 2021. It is specifically limited to those who are 21 and older. People who had prior convictions but would not have been charged had this law been in effect at the time had their cases expunged.

It is essential to understand the limits beyond being at least 21. Regarding possession, it is legal to have up to three ounces of cannabis. People can have 24 grams of cannabis concentrate. After 18 months have passed since the first legal sale, people can grow cannabis plants in their homes. They are limited to six mature and six immature plants.

Regulations are still being hashed out. Retail stores are subject to taxes and patrons are required to show identification when purchasing it, so there are other ways in which people can find themselves facing charges if they violate the law.

Legal assistance is needed when arrested for marijuana

Being arrested for marijuana carries with it several ramifications. There can be incarceration, fines, a criminal record that can hinder a person’s future endeavors, and problems at work.

There might be a perception that because marijuana is not viewed as a serious legal violation and it is legal within limits that law enforcement and prosecutors will not pursue maximum penalties. That is a mistake.

It is always wise to craft a strong criminal defense especially when there are recent changes to criminal law and even those who enforce them are trying to gauge how to handle them. Calling for legal guidance is imperative and should be done immediately after the arrest.