New York Penal Law 179.10: Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the first degree is a class E felony charge. This charge relates to several offenses, with the shared commonality that a medical marijuana certificate was issued to an individual who does not qualify to receive one or that medical marijuana was transferred to an individual not qualified to use it.
This charge is leveled against a medical practitioner. Under New York Public Health Law 3360, such a practitioner is defined as a physician who has completed the required coursework for the position and is both licensed in the state of New York and qualified to treat serious medical conditions. Under New York Penal Law 179.10, it must be proven that such a practitioner issued a medical marijuana certificate to an individual knowing that it would not be used to treat a serious medical condition or that the patient did not have a need for the certificate.
Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the first degree has several related offenses. New York Penal Law 179.11 is Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the second degree. Also, New York Penal Law 179.15 deals with Criminal retention of medical marijuana.
Example of Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the first degree
Many medical practitioners are also supporters of marijuana for recreational purposes. It is also possible that many of these physicians use marijuana recreationally. If one such physician was to eventually treat patients with severe medical conditions, such as terminal cancer, chronic pain, or PTSD, they would be in the position to issue medical marijuana certificates to these patients. Being that this physician is also a supporter of recreational marijuana use, they may also issue such certificates to patients who they know with good faith are not eligible to receive the certificate in the state of New York. Such a doctor may see many patients who come to him solely for the false approval of their medical marijuana certificate, even if they are not in serious pain or facing a terminal disease. Under New York Penal Law 179.10, this practitioner is in violation of their medical authority and could be arrested and convicted of Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the first degree.
There are several possible defenses to Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the first degree and a NYC criminal attorney would best assist in providing the best course of action. The statute of criminal diversion is not applicable to several persons. The first of which is a medical practitioner who issued a certificate in good faith under the correct view that the person receiving the certificate would use it for treatment of a medical condition. This, of course, is a lawful use of the practitioner’s New York medical license. Also, a pharmacist who operates a lawful pharmacy is immune to New York Penal Law 179.10. Lastly, a person who seeks legitimate treatment for a medical condition that requires marijuana is immune, as is the person who assists such a person in the obtaining of their marijuana for medicinal uses.
Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the first degree is a class E felony. As such, being convicted with New York Penal Law 179.10 carries a maximum prison term of four years. A conviction also carries a possible five-year maximum probation and a fine. There may also be additional consequences related to one’s medical license unrelated to the court system.
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