Recreational Use of Marijuana Legalized in New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.  Consumers may now possess and use marijuana lawfully, with some restrictions.

The bill provides that New Yorkers over the age of 21 may lawfully use or consumer cannabis products; possess up to three ounces for recreational use; possess up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis, such as oils derived from a cannabis plant; and store up to five pounds of cannabis at home as long as “reasonable steps” are taken to ensure that it is securely stored.  The legislation also permits New Yorker’s to give cannabis products to third parties that are at least 21 years of age.

Retail dispensaries will be permitted to sell products to New Yorkers once regulations are established, including, but not limited to, licensing and taxation.  The law also legalizes home cannabis delivery.

While the law provides that it is legal for New Yorkers to smoke marijuana where tobacco products are permitted to be consumed, it does restrict marijuana consumption in places of work, schools and inside automobiles.  Importantly, driving under the influence of marijuana is unlawful.  A violation of the foregoing can result in civil penalties or community service.

Richard B. Newman is an FTC lawyer at Hinch Newman LLP. Follow FTC defense lawyer on National Law Review.   

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