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Possession of Marijuana Basics

Under the law, possession of small amounts of marijuana is a violation, punishable by a fine with no jail time. A violation is not considered a crime. Possessing marijuana is still illegal, but you won’t go to jail or have a criminal record. You can truthfully say you’ve never been convicted of a crime. The law even allows you to say that you’ve never been arrested for that offense.


Violations and Fines

The penal law says that if you are guilty of possessing under 1 ounce of marijuana you can be fined up to $50. PL 221.05-Unlawful possession of marihuana in the second degree.

If you are guilty of possessing more than 1 ounce of marijuana, but less than 2 ounces, you can be fined up to $200. When figuring out whether you have more than 1 ounce, the total weight of all preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing marijuana are weighed together. PL 221.10-Unlawful possession of marihuana in the first degree.

Both of these offenses are violations. See Types of Criminal Cases.

When your case is over, your violation will be “expunged.” This means it will be treated as if it never happened. Read Marijuana and Expungement.


What You Can’t Do

It is still a crime to buy, grow or sell marijuana in New York State. If you have more than 2 ounces of marijuana in your possession, you can still be charged with misdemeanors and felonies. For example, it is a misdemeanor to smoke marijuana and drive.

Any place where there is no smoking, includes no smoking or vaping marijuana. Like at work, in bars, the subway, and restaurants.

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