New York Marijuana Laws

As marijuana reform continues to happen across the United States, despite the fact that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, New York State has taken steps to make marijuana available to those who are interested in using it for medicinal and recreational uses in recent years. 


Continue reading to learn more about New York’s medical marijuana laws and the most recent decriminalization if marijuana possession that was put into effect in the summer months of 2019.


Medical Marijuana Laws in NY

For nearly five years, New York has been a place where patients with serious medical conditions could legally consume and purchase marijuana products. However, the ability to actually go to a medical marijuana dispensary in NY wasn’t a possibility until more than 18 months later. 

These days, if a patient has been prescribed medical marijuana, they can go to any medical marijuana dispensary to purchase various types of marijuana products without any legal ramifications. It should be noted that New York medical marijuana laws prohibit marijuana users to consume their marijuana products through smoking.

2019 Decriminalization and Recreational Use

Though the state made efforts to make weed legal for recreational use in 2019, they were not successful. The state was able to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and is on track to legalize marijuana entirely in the coming years, though.

Lawmakers have discussed age requirements (21 years +) for the purchase of recreational marijuana and have stated that once marijuana is legalized, users will need to adhere to the same non-smoking policies as those who smoke cigarettes. This means they will not be able to smoke in public places without facing a fine.

When marijuana became officially decriminalized in June 2019, anyone in possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana can only be fined, but not arrested for possession. 

As part of the law, all minor marijuana convictions, meaning those that consist of individuals convicted of having 25 grams or less of marijuana on their person, have since been immediately expunged. This means that those whose criminal records have previously reflected criminal convictions will no longer have this looming over them when they consent to a background check.

New York still has a long way to go when it comes to marijuana reform, but with legislators listening to what the people want, backed with scientific evidence of the benefits of marijuana use for select individuals, it is only a matter of time before New York legalizes marijuana for recreational use as well.