Although there are statutes involving the sale of prescription medications and medical devices, the New York Penal Code also has a separate statue regarding the criminal diversion of medical marijuana. As per this statute, it is illegal for a person to issue a medical marijuana certificate to someone who does not meet the prerequisites for one. This statute also makes it illegal for a person to give medical marijuana to someone who is not qualified to receive it. Although there are several degrees of offenses related to the criminal diversion of medical marijuana, a second degree offense specifically refers to a person who knowingly sells or provides medical marijuana to someone who is not qualified to receive it.
Examples of Criminal Diversion of Medical Marijuana in the Second Degree
If someone is certified to use and access medical marijuana, and then uses that certification to knowingly supply marijuana to others without a certification, then they could be charged with criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the second degree. For instance, if someone sells their excess medical marijuana to a friend who isn’t certified to use it, then they could eventually be charged under the statute.
While there are other situations in which a person could be charged with criminal diversion of medical marijuana, the second degree offense is only brought against people who knowingly sold medical marijuana to those who were not legally authorized to have access to it.
Defending Against Criminal Diversion of Medical Marijuana in the Second Degree
There are several ways to defend against a second degree charge of criminal diversion of medical marijuana. Depending on the circumstances around a specific case, a NYC criminal lawyer can select the most appropriate defense.
The first main defense is to prove that the defendant was an authorized practitioner who issued a medical marijuana certification in good faith. Similarly, a person acting in their capacity as a pharmacist can also argue against the charges.
Aside from these defenses, another common argument is that a person was only seeking medical marijuana in order to treat a condition, or they were trying to access medical marijuana for someone else who was suffering from a condition. In these cases, getting access to medical marijuana without a certification can potentially be justified.
Sentencing for Criminal Diversion of Medical Marijuana in the Second Degree
Criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the second degree is considered to be a class B misdemeanor. This means that a person found guilty of the charges could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. Aside from possible jail time, a person convicted of criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the second degree could also face up to one year of probation, as well as be forced to pay a sizeable fine.
Although criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the second degree is only a misdemeanor, that does not mean it does not have potentially serious consequences. A person who is convicted of criminal diversion of medical marijuana in the second degree can still face jail time and fines, so it’s important that anyone facing these charges contact a knowledgeable legal representative to take on their case. Luckily, these charges are not impossible to overcome. In fact, there are several viable defenses that can be prepared to combat them.