Marijuana - Criminal Justice Reform 2019
  • Gennaro Calabrese

Marijuana - Criminal Justice Reform 2019

In July 2019, the penal law and the criminal procedure law were amended to favor those who are charged with, or convicted of, possessing two ounces or less of marijuana.

The Penal Law has been amended so that two ounces or less of marijuana is decriminalized and the penalties for such possession reduced.


Penal Law § 221.05, formally Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, is now Unlawful Possession of Marijuana in the second degree. It is still a non-criminal violation; however, there are two major changes. (1) The statute now applies to possession of marijuana in an amount of one ounce or less. (2) The penalty upon conviction is now – at most – a fine of not more than fifty dollars.


Penal Law § 221.10, formally Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the fifth degree, is now Unlawful Possession of Marijuana in the first degree. There are three major changes to this statute. (1) The statute now applies to possession of marijuana in an amount of two ounces or less. (2) The penalty upon conviction is now – at most – a fine of not more than two hundred dollars. (3) A conviction to this offense is now classified as a non-criminal violation, it is no longer a Class B Misdemeanor.


The Criminal Procedure Law has also been amended in favor of those who have been convicted of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana.


If you have a conviction to Penal Law §§ 221.05 or 221.10, you may now move to vacate your conviction under Criminal Procedure Law § 440.10(1)(k) (under the conditions listed). Criminal Procedure Law § 160.50 has also been amended. Notable, any records of a conviction to Penal Law§§ 221.05 and 221.10, can now be expunged. Moreover, you are not required or permitted to waive eligibility for sealing as part of a guilty plea.


If you or someone you know are facing marijuana or other drug-related charges, call the Calabrese Law Firm. With over ten years of experience, the Calabrese Law Firm is committed, dedicated, and experienced. Don’t let a drug charge affect your life. Call today for a consultation – 518-350-7480

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