While the use of marijuana in New York is not uncommon, it is in most circumstances illegal and will be prosecuted. Last week's blog post discussed the criminal possession of marijuana and its penalties. However, possession is not the only drug offense involving marijuana in New York. The sale of marijuana is also illegal in the state, the penalties of which can range from class B misdemeanors to class C felonies.
First, let's examine the fifth-degree criminal sale of marijuana. Under New York Penal Code Article 221, the criminal sale of marijuana has several elements. The person accused of the sale must have known that the substance they were selling was marijuana, and it must be unlawful for the accused to do so. In addition, the weight requirements for the fifth-degree criminal sale of marijuana is at a maximum two grams or a single marijuana cigarette. Fifth-degree criminal sale of marijuana is considered a class B misdemeanor.
As we saw in the criminal possession of marijuana, the criminal penalties for the sale of marijuana increase based on the amount of marijuana at issue. For example, under New York law, the first-degree criminal sale of marijuana, like the fifth-degree criminal sale of marijuana, must be done both illegally and knowingly. However, a person will be charged with first-degree criminal sale of marijuana if the amount of the drug at issue is over 16 ounces. This makes the criminal sale of marijuana a class C felony.
The penalties for the criminal sale of marijuana in New York can be significant, and are obviously undesirable. Therefore, those who face charges of either possessing or selling marijuana may want to make sure they counter such charges with the aid of a criminal defense attorney, to minimize the negative effect these charges will have on their life.