Most of the nation is familiar with the ongoing debate surrounding medical and recreational marijuana. While some areas of the country have already legalized this controversial substance, others remain in a state of limbo with laws and regulations. New York enforces strict guidelines when it comes to medical marijuana, but recreational purchase of this drug has yet to receive the go-ahead. 

Recent news in the state reveals a potential change in New York’s marijuana laws — could residents soon purchase marijuana recreationally? The answer to this question appears complicated, as the drug is now decriminalized, but not legalized. 

A Complex Situation

Leafly magazine shares that, without a medical cannabis card issued by the state, New Yorkers caught in possession of marijuana could face steep fees and even time behind bars. Furthermore, those caught smoking in public may even be required to serve up to 90 days in jail. However, Leafly stresses that laws in this state are currently under close scrutiny, perhaps following suit behind Vermont, New Jersey and Rhode Island — states that have all expanded their marijuana programs. As lawmakers have left New York’s Oliveri Statute in the dust, the state has since adopted the Compassionate Care Act, which helps aid marijuana consumers at the medical level. At current, the debate revolves mostly around Governor Andrew Cuomo’s hesitancy regarding cannabis in any form.

A Potential Breakthrough?

Last June, WHEC News highlighted New York’s potential changes in its recreational marijuana laws. According to the report, some state lawmakers agree with the other eight states that have already legalized this form of marijuana. Two lawmakers in particular have even introduced legislation multiple times in attempts to legalize, tax and regulate the drug recreationally. As a large majority of the state remains hopeful, there could still be a long way to go when it comes to legalizing marijuana completely in New York.