There is frequently a moment a shock when a client who was (allegedly!) caught with some THC gummies or a vape pen is informed that they have been charged with a misdemeanor, and potentially face up to a year in jail.
“But I thought marijuana was just a violation?”
When it is in a small amount, and in plant form, that’s right. But, for whatever reason, New York State’s Penal Law treats “concentrated cannabis” – which, for the prosecutor’s and police’s purposes, translates into any form of THC that is not the original plant buds – as a controlled substance separate and distinct from marijuana. Which means if you are caught with a single THC gummy bear, you will be charged with Penal Law Section 220.03 – Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree; the same charge you would receive for a small amount of heroin or cocaine.
“But Dan, that seems incredibly stupid, nitpicky, and unfair.”
Yes, it is. Welcome to New York.
Cuomo’s current bill allowing for highly regulated, but legalized, marijuana would remedy this remarkably ridiculous difference in how defendants are charged, by folding all THC products into the same laws that currently apply to marijuana the plant (Penal Laws falling under section 221). It remains to be seen if that bill will pass.
In the meantime, if you or a loved one is caught with any THC product which is not in plant form, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and potentially face up to a year in jail. Give us a call at (516) 388-7611 to make sure that doesn’t happen.