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Question: What is history of marijuana cannabis prohibition in New York?

Posted by David Holland | Apr 25, 2021 | 0 Comments



            1927 – Narcotic Drug Control Law of 1927 – Act to amend the Public Health law to remove habit forming drugs and assert control over narcotic drugs. Laws of 1927, Ch. 672

-Amends Article XXII of Public Health Law and creates provisions regarding ‘habit forming drugs'

-Sect. 425(1) – exempting “medical preparations made with cannabis sativa and cannabis indica when combined with other ingredients in medicinal doses”

            1933 – Uniform Narcotic Control Law of 1933 – Laws 1933, Ch. 684

-Repeals Article XXII of the Public Health Law and the medical marijuana exception

            1937 – Amendments to Redefine Cannabis – Laws of 1937, Ch. 413

                        -“To aid in the prosecution of violations of the law…” related to use of cannabis

            1939 –– Laws 1939, Ch. 131

-In response to the federal Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 (Public Law 75-238, 50 Statutes at Large 551). Repealed Ch. 430 of the Uniform Narcotic Drug Control Act of 1933 related to the orders and records of cannabis.

- Prohibition of possession and sale of cannabis

            1943 – Laws of 1943, Ch. 123

-amended Penal Law 1753 to include misdemeanor for cultivating unlicensed cannabis or not destroying a crop once discovered on property.

            1951 – Laws of 1951, Ch. 539, 530 and 1956 – Laws of 1956, Ch. 526

Increase the severity of penalties for cannabis use, possession and cultivation to mirror federal law.

            1973 – Rockefeller Drug Laws – Laws of 1973, Ch. 276, 277, 278, 676

-4 bills amend the Penal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Corrections Law, and Mental Health Law.

-draconian sentences for even modest cannabis possession

            -mandatory minimums sentences based on weight of cannabis

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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