A short while ago, New York City received a great deal of attention because the police and prosecutors in New York City made some well publicized changes to the way in which current marijuana laws would be enforced. This change in the way that existing marijuana laws would be enforced became muddled in translation to the public and some people assumed that marijuana was now somehow legal in New York City.
This is false.
The marijuana laws in New York City are unchanged. Possession of small amounts of marijuana out of the public eye are still "non criminal offenses" (think parking tickets), while possession of larger amounts of marijuana in New York City or possession of marijuana burning and open in public view are mostly low level misdemeanor (meaning criminal) offenses. Possession of still larger amounts of marijuana can even be charged as felonies.
What has supposedly changed is that while many of the low level marijuana offenses would have resulted in people "going through the system", or getting desk appearance tickets after formal arrest, the NYPD is now supposedly using the option simply to give people small pink summonses for summons court instead.
Frankly, we have seen evidence of the police still giving out desk appearance tickets after formal arrest for marijuana cases as well as pink summonses, so I think the universality of the new procedure is in doubt. Perhaps it was never really meant to be a universal policy to begin with, but rather a kind of default position available to be adjusted depending on the case and the mood of the arresting officer or his boss.
For more in depth treatment of criminal possession of marijuana cases in New York City (PL 221.10 - B misdemeanor version) and unlawful possession of marijuana cases (PL 221.05 - the violation level offense) visit our article on New York City Marijuana Possession cases where you can learn more and also get help from an experienced New York City Marijuana defense lawyer.