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Cannabis in New York is illegal for recreational use, but is permitted for medical use, and possession of small amounts is decriminalized.

Possession of less than 25 grams (0.88 oz) of marijuana, in any form, is unlawful possession of marijuana, punishable by a fine of no more than $100 if the defendant has no convictions for the offense within the last three years. Those who do can be fined up to $200; on the third conviction within that time period the maximum fine rises to $250 with the possibility of a 15-day jail sentence as well. The offense is considered a violation, the lowest level of offense defined in state law, and thus does not show up on a criminal record.

If the marijuana is burning or in public view, no matter the amount, or is between 25 g and 2 ounces (57 g), it is fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor, carrying a possible three-month sentence. Amounts in the 2–8 ounces (57–227 g) range are fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor for which offenders can receive up to six months in jail. Convictions for these offenses will result in a criminal record.

Amounts higher than 8 ounces are felonies, all of which carry a minimum prison term of three years in New York. Third-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a Class E felony with up to four years as a possible punishment, applies to amounts between 8 and 16 ounces (450 g), or one pound. Those convicted of second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a Class D felony with a maximum sentence of seven years, will have been in possession of up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and can expect to serve up to seven years at most. First-degree criminal possession of marijuana applies to those with more than 10 pounds, a Class C felony for which offenders may spend 15 years in prison.

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In July 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation permitted the use of cannabis for medical purposes, following a "lengthy, emotional debate" in the issue in the Senate and 49–10 Senate vote. Cuomo's signing began an 18-month window for the state Department of Health to enact a medical marijuana program to provide non-smoked method of cannabis consumption to patients. The legislation awarded five contracts to private marijuana growers who would each be allowed to operate four dispensaries.


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  • New York decriminalized possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, to an infraction with a $100 fine


  • New York Becomes 23rd State to Legalize Medical Marijuana


    automatically expires after seven years.

    Conditions approved for use include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage causing spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, and Huntington's disease.

  • New York City Officially Ends Prosecution of Marijuana Possession and Use


    Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced on Tuesday that his office will no longer prosecute most charges for the use or possession of marijuana. Beginning Wednesday, prosecutors will not file charges for such offenses committed in New York City. [source]


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