ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Marijuana was legalized in New York in March of this year, but there are still many questions around what is allowed.
While Marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, police are no longer seizing marijuana, making arrests or issuing tickets for low-level possession for travelers passing through airports across the state, according to a report from the Times Union.
As of right now, New York has eliminated penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis for those 21 and older, with a greater quantity allowed to be stored at home in a secured place.
TSA officials say if marijuana is found at airports by security, they will notify local police. In a statement to News 8 they said:
“There has been no change in the way that TSA handles marijuana or other drugs that TSA officers come across when they are performing their security duties. TSA officers are not looking for marijuana or other drugs, however if they come across it during the regular security screening process, TSA will notify local police at the airport because marijuana is illegal from a federal perspective. It is up to the police as to how they want to handle it. This is how it is handled in every state and every airport. That has not changed.“
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is the law enforcement agency that oversees operations at the airport. They say they will enforce state law in regards to marijuana possession. In a statement to News 8 Friday:
“MCSO will enforce the New York State Penal Law regarding possession of marijuana. If three ounces or less, there is no enforcement per the NYS Penal Law. If an individual is in possession of three ounces or more, the individual faces arrest and prosecution in accordance with the NYS Penal law.“
So if you have three ounces or less in your possession at the Rochester airport, there is no potential to be ticketed, arrested, or have the marijuana seized. If you have more than three ounces you could face arrest and prosecution.
Here’s what you can do as of now since the law passed:
People 21 and older can use, smoke, ingest or otherwise consume marijuana and other related products.
It’s still illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
New York has eliminated penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis for those 21 and older, with a greater quantity allowed to be stored at home in a secured place. The bill also automatically expunged records of people with past convictions for marijuana-related offenses that would no longer be criminalized (court offices have up to two years to make sure this process is completed). That’s a step beyond a 2019 law that expunged many past convictions for marijuana possession and reduced the penalty for possessing small amounts.
The legislation took effect immediately upon the bill’s signing, though sales will not start immediately.
Legal buying and selling of recreational marijuana will take a while as New York sets up rules and a proposed cannabis board. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes estimated Friday it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.
The governor’s office will begin setting up a brand new agency called the Office of Cannabis Management. The agency will establish guidelines and issue licenses for marijuana farming, processing, distribution, dispensaries and even retail consumption sites.
Penalties still apply for people selling illegally, without a license. You can give cannabis products to others who meet the legal requirements, though.
You can’t use marijuana products at dispensaries, except for designated consumption sites (think cigar lounge).
Patients looking to grow medical marijuana at home can do so six months after the bill is enacted.
Those planning to grow recreational marijuana can do so 18 months after the opening of the first dispensary, so as to allow the commercial sale of cannabis products to get set up.
New Yorkers can grow up to six plants at home and up to 12 plants per household
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.