Is cannabis illegal in NYC?

Despite what you might smell on the streets, it’s still illegal. Being in possession of and using cannabis is outlawed on both the federal and state level.

Upcoming policy changes

Starting from September 1, 2018 the NYPD will issue tickets for people consuming cannabis in public instead of arresting them. Bear in mind this is a policy change, not a law. The police are simply going to choose to not to arrest you but they still have the power to do so if they see fit for safety reasons. If you are on parole/probation or have an arrest warrant, you would likely be arrested.

New York moved a significant step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, as a study commissioned by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will recommend that the state allow adults to consume marijuana legally, the governor’s health commissioner said on Monday.

The announcement by the commissioner, Howard Zucker, signals a broad turnaround for the administration of Mr. Cuomo, a second-term Democrat who said as recently as last year that marijuana was a “gateway drug.”

“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons,” Dr. Zucker said, adding, “we have new facts.”

The findings of the report, which was initialized in January and has not been finalized, could pave the way for New York to join a roster of states that have already legalized the drug, including California, Colorado and Washington.

A senior administration official with knowledge of the governor’s thinking said on Monday that legalization efforts by New Jersey and Massachusetts had helped shift his thinking early this year. “It was no longer ‘if,’” the person said, “but ‘how.’”

Even with the governor’s support, the path to legalization in New York still faces legislative hurdles, as well as logistical questions. It would require the approval of the State Legislature, which is unlikely to take up the issue in its last days of session, which ends Wednesday.