In New York, it’s illegal to sell marijuana. The courts view it as a serious offense. Sale of marijuana means more than just exchanging marijuana for money. If you trade something for marijuana or even give it away, you can face a selling charge. The law also covers cases where you only make an agreement or an offer to sell marijuana.
Sale of marijuana in the fifth degree
As our team of NYC criminal attorneys at Spodek Law Group knows, if you’re charged with selling marijuana, the seriousness of the charge depends on how much marijuana you sell. If you’re caught selling two grams or less, you can face charges of selling marijuana in the fifth degree. This is the least serious of the criminal charges for selling marijuana, but it is still a class B misdemeanor under N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.35.
If you’re convicted of a class B misdemeanor, you can spend up to three months in jail. You can also pay a fine of up to $500. Selling larger quantities of marijuana is significantly more serious. If you sell more than twenty-five grams of marijuana you can face a felony charge.
The Compassionate Care Act
One possible defense to charges of the sale of marijuana in the fifth degree is that you are a lawful provider of marijuana under New York’s Compassionate Care Act. Under the Act, individuals can grow or use marijuana lawfully for certain medical reasons. A lawful user of marijuana can select one or two caregivers to produce marijuana.
If you’re a caregiver, you may grow marijuana for up to five patients. Even so, you must have a registered caregiver card before you ever possess marijuana. If you have a card and law enforcement charges you criminally, the Compassionate Care Act may be a valid defense to the charges against you.
Other defense options
If you’re facing charges for selling marijuana in the fifth degree, there might be a number of options available to you. Some of these options involve trying to attack the legality of the charges and law enforcement’s ability to prove the charges against you. Other options include participating in court programs designed to help you stop abusing substances in exchange for reduced charges.
You should evaluate your case to make sure that the police can prove all of the elements in the criminal charge against you. If they can’t prove you sold or intended to sell the marijuana, that can be a valid defense. Your attorney can also explore options to ask the court to suppress evidence if law enforcement violated your constitutional rights. In many sale of marijuana cases a suppression of evidence results in dismissal of the charges, so it’s important to explore all of these options.
Drug court may be available for a person charged with criminal sale of marijuana in the fifth degree. The person charged pleads guilty to the charges against them and enters the drug court program. While in drug court, they have to avoid using illegal substances.
In addition to avoiding substance use, a person in drug court has to get treatment for any apparent substance abuse issues. This usually means counseling. They have to pass drug tests. If the person completes all of the conditions of drug court without any violations, the end result can be dismissal or a reduction of the charges. This is a good option if you’re concerned about the consequences of a marijuana conviction on your criminal history and you’re serious about stopping the use and sale of marijuana.