With a few exceptions, marijuana is still illegal in the State of New York. That means it’s illegal to sell marijuana as well as possess it. Even though it’s legal to use marijuana with a prescription marijuana card, New York still takes marijuana offenses seriously.
There are several different crimes that relate to selling marijuana. Crimes that prohibit the sale of marijuana divide the seriousness of the crime by how much marijuana the person tries to sell. The most serious of the offenses is sale in the first degree.
Sale in the first degree involves selling more than a pound of marijuana. The least serious of the offenses is sale in the fifth degree. That involves selling less than two grams. There is no distinction in the law for giving marijuana away as opposed to selling it. Both acts meet the definition of selling under New York’s marijuana laws.
Sale in the fourth degree involves the sale of twenty-five grams of marijuana or less. It’s a class A misdemeanor under N.Y. Pen. Law § 221.40. That means that you can spend up to one year in jail if you’re convicted of the offense. You can also pay a fine of up to $1,000 and spend several years on probation.
Because the sale of any amount of marijuana is a serious charge, it’s important to consider every possible defense. At Spodek Law Group, our NYC criminal attorneys know that any marijuana conviction has potentially devastating effects on employment prospects, military recruitment and educational opportunities. If you receive a second marijuana-related charge, you can face enhanced penalties because of the prior conviction. For all of these reasons, it’s important to defend yourself aggressively when you face a charge of sale of marijuana in the fourth degree.
Compassionate Care Act
A common and viable defense to the charge of sale of marijuana in the fourth degree is that the person charged can legally distribute marijuana under the Compassionate Care Act. The Act allows certain marijuana growers to legally act as caregivers for people authorized to used marijuana for medical purposes. For this defense to work, you have to have a registered caregiver card before you’re charged with selling marijuana.
Other recognized defenses
To prove that you sold marijuana, the police have to convince the jury that you intended to distribute the marijuana. In cases involving a relatively small amount of marijuana, the state might not always be able to prove your intent to the satisfaction of a jury. In cases where the police need to show that you possessed the marijuana as part of the sale charges, they might not be able to show that the marijuana was in your possession. That can be the case if there are multiple people involved at the scene where events allegedly occurred.
Your attorney can also explore search and seizure laws to see if you might be able to suppress the state’s evidence in your case. If law enforcement stopped you or searched you when they didn’t have a legal right to interrupt your day, the state might not be able to tell the jury about evidence that they found. This can be extremely helpful to defending you in the case.
If you’re charged with selling marijuana in the fourth degree, it’s important to take the charges seriously. At Spodek Law Group, we have extensive experience helping good people who find themselves facing marijuana charges. If you’ve been charged with possessing marijuana in New York, we invite you to contact us today.
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