new york cannabis fine

New York: Cannabis Possession is Just Fine.

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by Dan Larkin.

If you’re in possession of cannabis in New York, it’s just fine. Well, I mean it is still illegal, but it is now just a fine-able misdemeanor. So, you no longer have to worry about being arrested and going to jail for having an ounce or two of cannabis on you.

What is the fine for cannabis possession?

So, if you’re caught smoking a joint in public you could be fine $50. The same goes if you are caught publically displaying anything less than an ounce. The fine for up to two ounces is now $200.

This is a big change from the old law. It used to be that either of those scenarios would be a criminal misdemeanor that could carry a punishment of up to 90 days in jail. 

Cops in New York used to see someone smoking cannabis and would ask them if they would empty their pockets. Guess what? Most people complied. Then, of course, the cops would find their stash and technically it would be displayed in public. (Which makes it a criminal misdemeanor.) So, the person would be arrested.

Oh, and guess who got arrested way more than white people. Blacks, and Latinx. That’s a fact. Also, a fact, whites consume cannabis at higher rates.

So, putting an end to that nonsense is awesome. But wait, there’s more.

What else is New York doing?

Anyone arrested for possession of an ounce or less can now have that arrest wiped out….expunged like it never happened. Of course for those arrested, it did happen and it sucked, but at least New York is moving in the right direction.

“This law is long overdue, and it is a significant step forward in our efforts to end this repressive cycle and ultimately mend our discriminatory criminal justice process once and for all.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), NY


Will other states follow suit? Well, actually, a number of other states already have decriminalized cannabis use and possession. Some have even expunged or are about to expunge arrest records for possession arrests.

All of this progress is great. It really is. But, for proponents of fully legal, adult use of cannabis, it’s not nearly enough. Federal legalization is still the ultimate goal.

Read more from CannabisIRL about New York and cannabis here.

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