Neil S. Ruskin
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What are the penalties of using marijuana?

You may consider marijuana to be a recreational substance which you do not need to give much thought. However, if you look at the laws of New York, you will quickly see that using this drug in any form carries stiff penalties.

According to, marijuana is a material which can cause hallucinations, and depending on how you use it, you may commit either a misdemeanor or a felony. While you may think that growing marijuana is different from possessing it, this is sometimes not the case. Growing and possessing are often considered to be the same thing, and you may be considered guilty of both crimes and face both a fine and time in prison.

If you are found with marijuana, the penalty usually depends on whether or not you have previously been charged with possessing this substance. You typically are required to pay a fine for the first and second possession charges. If you have more than two offenses, however, you may find yourself facing jail time. You might spend up to a year in prison if you are charged with possessing more than two ounces of marijuana, and this can increase to 15 years if you have at least 10 pounds.

You might think that possessing marijuana is a crime only if you have the plant form of this substance. However, it is also illegal to have concentrated cannabis. You typically are required to pay a fine and may also face jail time if you have even less than an ounce of concentrated cannabis.

This information is intended to educate. It should not be used in place of legal advice.


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