2023 New York Cannabis Laws

A.W. Naves
June 9, 2023

Navigating newly implemented cannabis laws can be challenging. This article will discuss some of the key New York cannabis regulations related to purchase, consumption, cultivation, and more. Here’s everything that you need to know about the 2023 New York cannabis laws.

Where can I buy cannabis in New York and are there purchase limits?

Cannabis can be purchased from licensed retail dispensaries across the state. You are allowed to purchase up to 3 ounces of cannabis at a time. For cannabis concentrate, the limit is 24 grams. Possession above these amounts but less than 16 ounces of cannabis or less than 141.75 grams of concentrated cannabis is a non-criminal offense that can be fined a maximum of $125. Anything above that amount can result in criminal charges.

How can I verify the quality of cannabis products?

Cannabis product that has been lab tested to ensure quality will display a yellow triangle displaying a cannabis leaf and “THC!” on the label. You can also scan the QR code or visit the URL listed on the packaging to view a certificate of analysis for the product you wish to purchase.

Where am I allowed to smoke cannabis?

Cannabis can be smoked in the privacy of your own home and in any public location where smoking tobacco is permitted. However, it cannot be smoked in cars, workplaces, within 100 feet of a school, on college campuses, and in other public places where smoking is banned.

A grey tone image of someone smoking cannabis legally in New York.

Can I gift cannabis to a friend or family member?

Yes, cannabis can be gifted in amounts within the legal possession limit. However, it cannot be in exchange of money, goods, or services. The recipient also has to be over the age of 21.

Will my past NY cannabis arrests and convictions be expunged?

Yes, as per the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), past convictions for activities that are now legal under the law will be expunged. Convictions for charges made per the penal codes below will be automatically expunged. Anything not on this list will need to be addressed through the court system.

  • PL 221.05: Unlawful possession of cannabis.
  • PL 221.10, 221.15, 221.20: Criminal possession of cannabis in the third, fourth, or fifth degree.
  • PL 221.35, 221.40: Sale of cannabis in the fourth or fifth degree.
  • PL 222.25: Unlawful possession of more than 3 ounces of cannabis or more than 24 grams of concentrated cannabis.
  • PL 220.06, 220.03: Criminal possession of concentrated cannabis in the fifth or seventh degree.
  • PL 222.45: Sale of cannabis.
  • PL 222.10: Restrictions on cannabis use.
  • PL 222.15: Personal cultivation and home possession of cannabis.
  • PL 240.36: Loitering in the first degree when the only substance involved was cannabis and the conviction was only a misdemeanor.

Can I purchase cannabis in NY and take it to another legal state?

No, it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, even if both states have legalized it. This is due to cannabis still being illegal at the federal level.

Can I grow cannabis at home?

Yes, adults 21 and over are allowed to cultivate up to six plants per person at home — 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants. There is a maximum of 6 mature plants and 6 immature plants, irrespective of the number of occupants. Plants over this amount can result in misdemeanor charges, up to one year in prison, and a fine of up to $1,000. Since plants also count as possession, additional charges may also apply based on the number of plants you possess.

A cannabis plant growing legally in a New York home.

Can I be fired from my job for using cannabis?

Yes and no, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on legal cannabis use. However, an employee can be fired for being impaired while on the job.

Can I be searched or arrested if I smell of cannabis?

No, you cannot be arrested or searched based solely on the basis that you smell of cannabis or the smell of burned cannabis is present. The exception to this is if you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of cannabis. If an officer believes you are operating a vehicle while affected by cannabis products based on the smell of cannabis on you or in your vehicle, those areas that are accessible to you while driving can be searched. If it is determined you are driving under the influence, you may be arrested.

What social equity efforts are included in New York cannabis laws?

New York’s laws promote social equity by prioritizing licenses for those in communities that were disproportionately impacted by previous drug laws. Additionally, 40% of the state's cannabis tax revenue will go to a community reinvestment fund.

What taxes apply to cannabis?

A 13% sales tax is levied on the retail sale of cannabis: 9% goes to the state, and 4% goes to the local municipality. Additionally, a distributor tax is charged when the product is sold from wholesaler to retailer at the following rates:

  • $0.005 per milligram of the amount of total THC for cannabis flower.
  • $0.008 per milligram of the amount of total THC for concentrated cannabis.
  • $0.03 per milligram of the amount of total THC for cannabis edible products.
A budtender in New York is weighing cannabis buds for a customer.

What are the available cannabis licenses and what do they cost?

New York offers numerous types of cannabis business licenses. The application fees for the individual licenses can be found on the NY Office of Cannabis website.

The nine cannabis business licenses available in New York are:

  • Cultivator License for the cultivation and wholesale of marijuana
  • Processor License for the manufacture of cannabis-finished retail products
  • Cooperative License for the purchase and sale of cannabis products from a cooperative for resale to distributors or end retailers, but not consumers
  • Distributor License for the purchase of flower products from cultivators or finished cannabis goods from processors to resale to retail dispensaries and on-site consumption locations
  • Retail Dispensary License for the sale of retail cannabis products to consumers
  • Microbusiness License for limited cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and sale of the microbusiness’ own cannabis products
  • Delivery License for individuals delivering retail products from dispensaries to customers
  • Nursery License for the sale of cannabis plants and seeds to cultivators, cooperatives, and microbusinesses
  • On-Site Consumption License for establishments providing on-site consumption of cannabis.

What are the location restrictions for cannabis dispensaries?

Dispensaries cannot be located within 500 feet of a school or 200 feet of a place of worship or within 1000-2000 feet of one another, based on the size of the municipality. They must be in a location that doesn’t impact normal foot traffic. Additionally, municipalities can opt out of allowing retail dispensaries, so the availability may vary depending on the city or town.

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