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NY Penal Law § 179.15: Criminal retention medical marihuana

New York has very detailed rules for who can use medical marihuana and how much of it can be legally obtained. New York Public Health Law § 3362 states that those who are authorized to use medical marihuana may only possess up to the amount of a 30 day supply of the dosage determined by the practitioner. If you have in excess of that amount you would violated the law. Under New York Penal Law § 179.15 you could be prosecuted for criminal retention of medical marihuana if you are a certified user of medical marijuana or a designated caregiver and you knowingly possess more marihuana than you are authorized to possess. It is a Class A misdemeanor.


Ben is certified to obtain medical marijuana. However, he regularly skirts the law and obtains a lot more than his doctor authorized him to receive. Ben does not use it all himself. Instead he sells the excess or gives it away at parties to friends. Ben could be charged with criminal retention of medical marijuana as well as criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the second degree.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 179.10
  2. Criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 179.11

If you are convicted of criminal retention of medical marihuana, your sentence could include up to 1 year in jail, a probation term of 3 years, and a fine.

New York Penal Law § 179.11: Criminal diversion of medical marihuana in the second degree

A person is guilty of criminal retention of medical marihuana when, being a certified patient or designated caregiver, as those terms are defined in subdivisions three and five of § thirty-three hundred sixty of the public health law, respectively, he or she knowingly obtains, possesses, stores or maintains an amount of marihuana in excess of the amount he or she is authorized to possess under the provisions of title five-A of article thirty-three of the public health law.

New York Criminal Retention of Medical Marihuana Lawyer

Even though criminal diversion of medical marihuana is a misdemeanor and not a felony, you should still take it seriously as a conviction has consequences to be avoided. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of prescription drug grimes, possession of a controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance, as well as other drug crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of marihuana crimes in the following locations:

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