Although most states now allow for medical marijuana use, and many states have even legalized the herb outright, it's very important to understand the laws in your state before you start that "victory garden" in the spare bedroom. And if you live in New York, growing even a single plant can land you in jail for up to a year and set you back as much as $1,000 in fines (not to mention legal fees and other ripple effects from a conviction). Plan on growing an acre? Well, you'll also be charged with possession based on the amount.
Similar laws apply to the manufacture of other illicit substances, such as methamphetamine or LSD, but generally carry much more severe sentences upon conviction. While chemical precursors to certain drugs may include common household products, New York's laws are narrowly construed to consider certain combinations of precursors that would suggest the intent to manufacture drugs. For instance, carbamide (or urea) is a compound found in urine. But possession of carbamide is only a crime if you also possess two other specific compounds that together can be used to make barbiturates.
New York Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing Laws at a Glance
Important aspects of New York law pertaining to the cultivation or manufacturing of illicit drugs are summarized in the chart below.
Penal Code Section 220.25
Penal Code Section 220.60
Definition of the Crime (excluding marijuana cultivation)
A person is guilty of criminal possession of precursors of controlled substances when, with intent to manufacture a controlled substance unlawfully, he possesses at the same time:
- Carbamide (urea) and propanedioc and malonic acid or its derivatives;
- Ergot or an ergot derivative and diethylamine or dimethylformamide or diethylamide;
- Phenylacetone (1-phenyl-2 propanone) and hydroxylamine or ammonia or formamide or benzaldehyde or nitroethane or methylamine;
- Pentazocine and methyliodide;
- Phenylacetonitrile and dichlorodiethyl methylamine or dichlorodiethyl benzylamine;
- Diephenylacetonitrile and dimethylaminoisopropyl chloride;
- Piperidine and cyclohexanone and bromobenzene and lithium or magnesium; or
- 2, 5-dimethoxy benzaldehyde and nitroethane and a reducing agent.
Crime Classifications and Penalties
Cultivation of Marijuana
- Growing any amount of marijuana in New York is charged as a class A misdemeanor.
- Up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000.
- Cultivation also is charged as possession, resulting in more severe charges for larger amounts.
Possession of Precursors of Controlled Substances
- Charged as a class E felony
- Up to 4 years in prison (min. of 1 year)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Facing Cultivation Charges in New York? Talk to a Lawyer Today
New York State, and particularly New York City, have always welcomed entrepreneurial self-starters and a renegade spirit. However, this does not include the cultivation of marijuana or the manufacturing of other illicit substances. If you are convicted of such a crime, you're likely to face some time behind bars. Your best bet is to work with a New York criminal defense attorney well-versed in drug matters.