Last week, the New York City police department (“NYPD”) sent out an internal memo clarifying a number of issues after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing adult-use marijuana.
Among other things, the memo indicated that individuals who are at least 21 years old will no longer be liable for an arrest once they smoke marijuana in any place where people are allowed to smoke tobacco. Those places include sidewalks as well as other public spaces.
The police department also informed its officers that under the new marijuana law, adults were at liberty to gift cannabis to other adults as long as no payment or other form of compensation are given in return. The NYPD noted that, at the moment, it is still illegal to grow cannabis at home, but once enabling rules are published, no police officer will be at liberty to take any enforcement action unless someone is growing marijuana in ways that flout the home-grow rules, such as exceeding the number of plants permitted by law.
NYPD was unequivocal in its assertion that absolutely no one would be permitted to drive while under the influence of marijuana. However, police officers wouldn’t be allowed to cite the smell of burnt or unburnt marijuana as probable cause for enforcement action, such as searching a vehicle, arresting the driver or issuing a summons.
The NYPD memo goes on to spell out the exception to that rule. The department says enforcement action can justifiably be taken once a driver seems to be impaired and an officer suspects that the marijuana triggering the impairment is within the vehicle. Also, law enforcement officers can act when they observe a driver consuming (smoking) marijuana as they drive a vehicle.
It is also noteworthy that the memo makes reference to the possession of cannabis by minors. The agency clarifies that at the moment, there isn’t a mechanism that the police department can base upon to take action as long as the minor is found with less than the three ounces permitted for adults. In due course, a mechanism will be established to guide how marijuana possession by minors will be treated by the law enforcement community.
Individuals on parole are also mentioned in the internal memo. Officers were advised to desist from approaching or even detaining parolees who are in possession of legally permitted amounts of cannabis unless their parole conditions stipulate otherwise. Even then, the police officers are only required to inform the parole officers about the suspected infraction.
With this internal communication by the police, it looks like changes are coming thick and fast after the enactment of the recreational cannabis law in New York State.
While New Yorkers can now legally use cannabis recreationally, it has been permitted for medical use for several years now. As a matter of fact, many companies, both within and outside the United States, have taken steps to develop drug formulations from this plant. An example is British Columbia-based XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT), which is conducting pilot studies to establish the medical efficacy of three drug candidates made from combinations of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/XPHYF
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