For many years, the prevailing theory was that marijuana was a gateway drug. People started smoking marijuana and then progressed to much more dangerous drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. That theory has now been thoroughly debunked.[1] As a result, many jurisdictions, including the Empire State, are reconsidering their marijuana laws. Several jurisdictions have completely legalized pot. New York has not done that, but it has come close.

So, blanket prohibition has been replaced by a very confusing network of laws. Marijuana is legal for some purposes, semi-legal in some contexts, and completely illegal in other situations. Marijuana-type products, like hemp and CBD oil, muddy the waters even further.

A Rochester drug possession lawyer is more than an effective advocate in court. A criminal defense attorney also gives clients solid legal advice, so they understand complex situations and make better choices.

Hemp/CBD Oil

Essentially, hemp is marijuana without any active ingredients. Some textile and other manufacturers use hemp, but it is almost never used for personal reasons.

Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is a different story. There is some evidence that CDB oil, a marijuana extract, effectively treats pain, anxiety, muscle stiffness, and a few other conditions. Epidiolex, a CBD oil-based drug, has been approved for use in the United States since 2018. Today, a plethora of Cannabidiol products are available in specialty stores throughout Monroe County.

Before 2019, CBD oil was in a legal grey area, at least in terms of New York law. Since it is a marijuana extract, the substance was technically illegal. But since CBD oil contains no THC, the impairing ingredient in marijuana, there was no logical reason to ban it. Typically, if police arrested people for illegally possessing CDB oil, a Rochester drug possession lawyer could get the charges thrown out of court.

Today, CBD oil is 100 percent legal for personal, non-medicinal use. Most people ingest CBD oil directly or use it as a dietary supplement.

Medical Marijuana

Marijuana is widely regarded as a better alternative to prescription painkillers. Over the past several years, opioid painkiller overdoses have killed tens of thousands of Americans. Additionally, these substances are known gateway drugs. Many painkiller addicts move on to heroin. Marijuana overdoses have never killed anyone. And, as mentioned above, marijuana is not a gateway drug.

So, medical marijuana is legal in most states, including New York. However, the Empire State has a very limited list of conditions. Doctors may only prescribe marijuana if the patient suffers from a severe, chronic illness like:

  • AIDS,
  • Lou Gehrig’s Disease,
  • Cancer,
  • Parkinson’s Disease,
  • Epilepsy, or
  • Chronic pain which “degrades health and functional capability.”

Additionally, the condition must have a serious complication, such as seizures, severe nausea or chronic pain, or cachexia (wasting syndrome).

Recreational Marijuana and Rochester Drug Possession Lawyers

A 2019 law partially decriminalized most recreational marijuana possession matters. Possession under sixty grams (two ounces) is a violation, which is the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket. There is about a third of a gram of marijuana in a joint.[2] This law also made expungement available to people with some prior possession convictions. So, a Rochester drug possession lawyer might be able to erase your criminal record.

The “violation” designation is good news and bad news. The good news is that a violation is not a criminal offense. So, even if a judge finds you guilty, there is no criminal conviction on your record. That’s also the bad news. Since violations are not criminal offenses, many Constitutional protections do not apply. For example, violation defendants could be forced to testify against themselves in court.

Count on a Dedicated Lawyer

Prosecutors are aggressively going after accused unemployment fraudsters. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester drug possession lawyer, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. Convenient payment plans are available.





The information in this blog is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.

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