Can People On Probation Or Parole Legally Use Marijuana In New York State?
Now that adult-use marijuana is legal in New York State, questions arise about people on probation or parole being able to partake. People who were previously convicted of marijuana offenses have had their records expunged, but what about people who go to jail for other offenses. Are they able to smoke weed or use cannabis products while they are out on bail? New York State law thankfully provides a clear cut answer to those questions,
Section 127 of New York State Law (Protections for the use of cannabis; unlawful discriminations prohibited) says,
A person currently under parole, probation or other state supervision, or released on recognizance, non-monetary conditions, or bail prior to being convicted, shall not be punished or otherwise penalized for conduct allowed under this chapter unless the terms and conditions of said parole, probation, or state supervision explicitly prohibit a person's cannabis use or any other conduct otherwise allowed under this chapter.
The law goes on to say,
A person's use of cannabis or conduct under this chapter shall not be prohibited unless it has been shown by clear and convincing evidence that the prohibition is reasonably related to the underlying crime. Nothing in this provision shall restrict the rights of a certified medical patient.
So, unless marijuana specifically relates to the crime a person committed, they are allowed to use cannabis or marijuana products. A person who is authorized to use medical marijuana cannot be tested for marijuana, even if it is related to the crime, according to a directive from New York State's Corrections and Community Supervision,
Nothing shall restrict the rights of a certified medical patient. If a parolee is a "certified medical patient," no special condition prohibiting cannabis usage can be imposed, nor can the parolee be drug tested for cannabis even when cannabis use is reasonably related to the underlying crime. Currently, there is no definition in the law as to what constitutes a "certified medical patient." Therefore, until further notice, anyone who is under the care of a physician and is prescribed cannabis in their medical treatment will meet the definition.
New York State Farmers Can Begin Growing Marijuana This Year
Farmers in New York State can begin to grow cannabis in 2022. Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation today, February 22, 2022, which will allow them to start growing the crop this season. The law creates a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, which existing New York hemp farmers can apply for. The famers will have to meet certain requirements.
Governor Hochul said,
"I am proud to sign this bill, which positions New York's farmers to be the first to grow cannabis and jumpstart the safe, equitable and inclusive new industry we are building. New York State will continue to lead the way in delivering on our commitment to bring economic opportunity and growth to every New Yorker in every corner of our great state."
The conditional license will allow New York farmers to grow marijuana outside or in a greenhouse for up to two years following their conditional adult-use cannabis cultivation licensure. The law also allows farmers in the state to,
manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license, until June 1, 2023. Cultivators are limited to one acre (43,560 square feet) of flowering canopy outdoors or 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse and can use up to 20 artificial lights. They can also split between outdoor and greenhouse grows with a maximum total canopy of 30,000 square feet as long as greenhouse flowering canopy remains under 20,000 square feet.
The Office of Cannabis Management will develop the license application and begin the process as soon as possible.