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FAQ About Marijuana Legalization in New York

On March 31, 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that legalized recreational marijuana in the State of New York. Adults who are at least 21 years old can use and possess cannabis without facing criminal charges.

The following are the most frequently asked questions about New York marijuana legalization.

How much marijuana can I hold or possess?

Adults who are 21 or older can possess up to three (3) ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrated pot. In addition, up to five pounds of marijuana can be stored at home in a secure place.

Where can I use marijuana?

According to the bill’s sponsor, Liz Krueger, any place that permits smoking tobacco also pertains to smoking cannabis. However, individual municipalities and a new state cannabis agency may establish more strict rules.

You are not allowed to smoke marijuana in workplaces, schools, and inside of vehicles. If you smoke in an area where it is not permitted, then you may be subject to a civil fine worth up to $25 or up to 20 hours of community service.

You can legally smoke cannabis in a private residence, including a hotel or motel – so long as the landlord or manager does not prohibit such activity. Clubs and lounges dedicated to cannabis consumption are scheduled to open within the next few months, once regulations are established.

Where can I purchase cannabis?

You may purchase marijuana at a licensed dispensary or by delivery through a licensed business. However, localities can opt out of hosting dispensaries.

Can I grow marijuana at home?

Yes, you may grow up to six plants at home or 12 plants per household. However, you must wait until 18 months after the first retail dispensaries open.

When it comes to medical marijuana patients, they or their caregivers may grow plants within six months.

What If I have been convicted of a marijuana-related crime?

Those with certain convictions for activity that is no longer punishable by criminal law will have their records expunged. In 2019, approximately 160,000 people in New York had low-level marijuana convictions expunged from their criminal records after the state decriminalized possession.

Can I still get a DUI for driving under the influence of pot?

Yes, the police will still pull you over for suspected DUI. The smell of burned marijuana in the vehicle is enough reason for an officer to suspect that a driver is impaired, but the police can only search the areas where the driver readily has access, not the trunk.

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