Illegal Cultivation and Marijuana Laws in New York

Recorded on September 15, 2020

Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on PYX106 discussing marijuana and cultivation laws in New York state.

Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.

The attorneys of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP are available to provide answers to your questions and to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us for more information, today!

Cantara: 1-800-LAW-1010, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. One of the three faces you might recognize. But there’s a lot more behind the scenes. Right, Paul?

Paul: Oh, there’s a lot of people over there, sure is.

Quinn: I was watching the commercial yesterday.

Cantara: Advertising works.

Quinn: It does work.

Cantara: It works.

Quinn: It does.

Paul: So far, so good.

Cantara: So, Paul, you’re actually doing one of our listeners, I think you’re going to give him peace of mind.

Paul: Yeah.

Cantara: Because he unfortunately has to go to court, I think, later this week for illegal cultivation. There was plants removed from property near his, and then he was issued, like, a summons and/or a ticket, and that’s where we’re at with him. We’re hoping you could explain a little more.

Quinn: Yeah, what kind of… what’s he looking at?

Paul: There’s some confusion, you know? The states around us, of course, have legalized recreational use of marijuana and just to be super clear, New York, still, it’s illegal to grow or possess marijuana in New York State. And so, you know, the cultivation is really the, equals possession. That’s how they do it in New York. So if you’re cultivating, you’re growing it, it falls under the possession statute.

And although New York State is looking maybe as early as April to legalize recreational use of marijuana, in there, it says, “Hey, you still can’t grow it unless you’ve got a medical diagnosis that where marijuana is used and then you can grow a limited amount.” So, here, again, you’ve got land that’s near him, I don’t know that the land is actually land that he owns. As a general proposition, technically that could be deemed possession. I don’t know the facts of his particular case, but as we’ve seen, the courts and the prosecutors had been mixed as to whether they’re really moving forward on these cases.

Quinn: Like David Soares, what he said last year. Remember? We’re just gonna stop prosecuting these cases because we don’t have the time or the man power.

Cantara: But how much, for our listener who had five giant plants, you know, how much worse could it have been? Is illegal cultivation kind of a slap on the wrist?

Paul: Well, they sort of, they equate it to possession. So you look at the possession statute. If he looks at the law, he’s gonna be less comforted, I guess. You know, it’s up to 28 grams, $50 fine. Two ounces, $200 fine. But, you know, 10 pounds still is a C felony, up to 15 years in jail. So, but what they’re doing with this is they’re looking at the cultivation and the plants and, again, they first got to prove they’re his, right?

Secondly, they have to… which is always a little tricky because it’s usually out in the middle of the woods and I never saw that. Or maybe they didn’t see that. Maybe someone else grew it on their land. So, here, it depends. You know, five plants, what would it weigh out to in, actually, terms of marijuana? You know, you’re talking the plant itself.

Quinn: So, not the dirt, just the processable stuff only is how you weigh it?

Paul: Yeah.

Cantara: Call that the hanging weight in the butcher industry.

Quinn: Is that what it is? Okay.

Cantara: I don’t know. Sounded right.

Paul: Good way of looking at it. Yeah. So…

Quinn: They were big plants.

Paul: Probably not a whole lot. Probably not a whole lot of weight there.

Cantara: Well, we’re hoping that it works out for him because he told his story on the air not thinking that the authorities would reach out to him. But the authorities did reach out to him.

Quinn: In a very nice manner, I should say.

Cantara: The farmer and the cop were both listening to the same show as it was all unfolding last week and they’re probably both listening right now.

Quinn: Yes, how you doing, fellas?

Paul: Well, I think they had to do something, right? You make that announcement and if you’re aware of it, you do nothing as a law enforcement agency or maybe even a property owner. But my guess is that they’re going to reach out to him and he’s going to appear, and he’ll be back on the show to tell his story after he has gone through the system, so to speak.

Cantara: Well, you’re right. You know, we got him scheduled for Friday.

Quinn: The system doesn’t mean jail or anything, though, right?

Cantara: Just court.

Quinn: Okay, good.

Paul: I don’t think he’ll be calling you from jail, I believe. I know he’ll be calling you from home, for sure.

Cantara: He might be calling you, though, Paul.

Paul: Or calling me.

Quinn: Thanks, Paul.

Cantara: All right, well, I feel better that you’re on our side. Thank you, Paul.

Quinn: Yeah. God, let’s hope it works out.

Paul: You’re welcome.

Quinn: All right. 1-800-LAW-1010, Paul Harding from Martin Harding Mazzotti. It’s Quinn and Cantara, PYX 106.