While a new cannabis law is being written, you’ll want to stay up to date on marijuana drug charges in Rochester NY. Here’s one example of why: even as the state hammers out the details of the new cannabis law, some store owners thought they found a loophole that enabled them to sell marijuana to customers. But the New York Cannabis Board says the scheme is illegal.

Earlier, a Henrietta CBD dealer began selling $65 t-shirts and including three ounces of marijuana as a “gift.” The store claimed these transactions were legal since it’s legal to gift up to three ounces of marijuana to persons over 21. But the loophole was short-lived. “There is no gray market in New York state,” declared NYCB Chair Tremaine Wright. “This conduct is not legal and must stop. Individuals who do not cease run the risk of severe financial penalties.” Marijuana sales at pop-up stores and carnivals or fairs are likewise illegal.

Safety concerns prompt many officials to clamp down on marijuana gifting and other questionable activities. In 2019, black market THC vape cartridges sent over 2,000 people to area hospitals. Sixty-eight of them died.

Post-Possession Issues

Many people assumed that marijuana legalization automatically meant marijuana availability. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Under pressure from law enforcement groups that opposed the law, rule-makers are in no hurry to implement the legislature’s directive. There are some misunderstandings about some other aspects of the marijuana law as well.

Possession of three ounces or less is the only component of this law that has no grey area. Typically, an ounce of marijuana produces about forty joints. If a person has more than three ounces of marijuana, or one hundred twenty joints, more than likely, that marijuana is not exclusively for personal use.

The law now prohibits police officers from arresting individuals on minor possession charges. However, New York law still allows police officers to detain such individuals and interrogate them about the source of the marijuana. If the defendant is uncooperative, police officers often file discretionary charges, such as disorderly conduct. According to the New York Penal Law, it is a violation to “cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly create a risk thereof” by:

  • Making an “unreasonable noise,”
  • Using obscene language,
  • Making an obscene gesture,
  • Disrupting traffic, which could mean walking too slowly across the street, or
  • Creating “a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.”

Many of us do at least one of these things pretty much every day. So, although it’s technically legal to possess pot, openly possessing it in a public place and in the presence of a law enforcement officer is usually a bad idea. Disorderly conduct is a traffic ticket. However, at a minimum, defendants must still make bail, hire a Rochester criminal defense lawyer, and go through the system.

Marijuana Usage Issues

Lots of people have questions about smoking pot in vehicles. It’s perfectly legal for passengers to use marijuana inside moving cars, at least in most cases. Using marijuana could mean smoking it or consuming marijuana edibles. However, police officers can still give these individuals a hard time, as outlined above.

Technically, it’s also legal to operate a motor vehicle while using marijuana. However, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Generally, people who use marijuana, even if they only take one hit, are under the influence of this drug. When people drink alcohol, the impairing effects accumulate over time. But marijuana works the opposite way. The high hits almost immediately and fades over time.

On a related note, the marijuana law effectively ends the age-old “I smelled marijuana” excuse, which has justified countless police stops over the years. The odor of marijuana no longer constitutes probable cause since use is mostly legal.

Other prohibited uses include transporting marijuana across state lines and smoking marijuana inside public buildings. Employers, landlords, and other such individuals may also prohibit marijuana use.

Worried about Marijuana Drug Charges in Rochester NY? Contact an Experienced Attorney

Marijuana is legal in New York, but only under certain circumstances. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester criminal defense 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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