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NY Penal Law § 179.10: Criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the first degree

Criminal diversion of medical marihuana is defined as issuing a medical marihuana certification to someone who does not qualify for one or transferring medical marihuana to someone who is not qualified to receive it. There are 3 offenses in the New York criminal code related to criminal diversion of medical marihuana. Under New York Penal Law § 179.10 you could be prosecuted for criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the first degree if you are a practitioner and you issue a certification to a patient knowing that the recipient does not have the need for medical marihuana or knowing that it is for a purpose other than treating a serious medical condition. Under New York Public Health Law § 3360 a practitioner is a physician who is licensed in the State of New York, who is qualified to treat serious medical conditions, and who has completed the required coursework.


Harvey Lefter is a great supporter of legalizing marihuana for medicinal purposes as well as for recreational purposes. He has used marijuana for recreational purposes for years, starting when he was a teenager. Lefter is now a physician who cares for patients with serious, painful and often terminal medical problems. He is qualified to issue certifications to patients to use medical marihuana. However, because of his general support for the use of marihuana Lefter sometimes issues patients certifications even when they do not meet the statutory requirements. Lefter could be prosecuted for criminal diversion of medical marijuana based on issuing certifications to people who do not suffer from serious ailments as required by law.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 179.11
  2. Criminal retention of medical marihuana: New York Penal Law § 179.15

The criminal diversion of marihuana statute does not apply to you if you:

  1. Are a practitioner authorized to issue a certification who acted in good faith in the lawful course of his or her profession,
  2. Are a pharmacist operating a lawful pharmacy, or
  3. A person seeking treatment for a medical condition or assisting another person to obtain treatment for a medical condition.

Criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the first degree is a class E felony. If you are convicted your sentence may include up to 4 years in prison, a probation term of 5 years, and a fine

New York Penal Law § 179.10: Criminal Diversion of Medical Marihuana in the First Degree

A person is guilty of criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the first degree when he or she is a practitioner, as that term is defined in subdivision twelve of section thirty-three hundred sixty of the public health law, who issues a certification with knowledge of reasonable grounds to know that (i) the recipient has no medical need for it, or (ii) it is for a purpose other than to treat a serious condition as defined in subdivision seven of section thirty-three hundred sixty of the public health law.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are under investigation for criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the first degree it is important that you are represented by someone with experience. If you are convicted you could end up in prison for up to 4 years, and you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes related to criminal diversion as well as grand larceny, embezzlement, and white collar crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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