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New York Marijuana Laws - Understanding Your Rights

Posted by David Holland | Sep 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

new york marijuana laws

New York lawmakers recently approved a bill legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in the state. Once regulations are put in place, New York State will also legalize the sale of recreational marijuana. 

As a marijuana defense attorney in the State of New York, I wanted to help you familiarize yourself with the basic requirements and New York marijuana laws that the state will impose as the recreational marijuana market continues to grow.

What do these new New York Marijuana Laws mean?

New Yorkers, who are 21 years of age or older, are now legally allowed to:

  • Possess up to three ounces of cannabis, or
  • Possess 24 grams of concentrated cannabis
  • Store up to five pounds of cannabis in their home, as long as precautions are taken place to store it securely
  • Generally speaking, consumers of age can smoke marijuana anywhere it is legal to smoke cigarettes 

New Yorkers will now be permitted to use, smoke, consume and share cannabis products with others who meet the minimum age requirement. However, some penalties are in place to punish those that do not comply with the new regulations. These punishments vary in severity, ranging from a basic violation to a felony.

New York Marijuana Laws: Where is Cannabis Allowed?

The use of recreational marijuana is legally allowed in private residences, so long as landlords and property owners permit it. Some exceptions apply to condominiums and cooperative apartments. “Consumption sites,” or club-like lounges, are where people can enjoy recreational marijuana use as long as regulations are followed. These sites are anticipated to be created within the next several months.

Cannabis is not legally permitted to be used in:

  • Schools
  • Workplaces
  • Inside vehicles
    • Operating a vehicle while under the influence is strictly prohibited

Purchasing Cannabis

These new NY marijuana laws will create retail licenses that will be necessary for dispensaries to operate and sell cannabis products legally. Special licensure will also be required for on-site consumption at dispensaries and cannabis delivery businesses, which will allow connoisseurs to have recreational marijuana delivered right to their homes.

As of late summer 2021, there is no set timeline for when dispensaries are expected to open. Industry operations - including regulations and sales tax to fund licenses for cultivators, processors, wholesalers, and delivery services have yet to be determined. Experts predict that recreational marijuana sales through dispensaries will not kick off until 2022 at the earliest.

New York Marijuana Laws: Growing Marijuana at Home

It will be legal to grow up to six marijuana plants in one's home. However, recreational growers will not be allowed to start cultivating their plants until 18 months after the first dispensary opens. These guidelines are very similar to the laws Massachusetts put in home cultivation

Previous Marijuana Convictions

Since New York marijuana laws have decriminalized cannabis, those with certain cannabis-related convictions will have their records expunged automatically.

It is also advisable to look over the guidelines provided by NORML NY to familiarize yourself with the extensive list of changes that these new laws are in the process of implementing.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these New York marijuana laws or feel that your rights have been violated, please reach out. I'm here to help.

About the Author

David Holland

As Executive Director of Empire State NORML and President of the New York City Cannabis Industry Association, David has been a leading advocate in the cannabis space for over 20 years. He has represented clients in marijuana related proceedings everywhere from traffic court to the United States Supreme Court, and he helped obtain clemency for five elderly prisoners servicing life without parole for marijuana. David also handles complex civil and criminal litigation in other areas including employment, First Amendment, and business.


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