Now that it is legal to smoke marijuana in New York and dispensers are opening all over the state, can you legally smoke marijuana in public?

At the time of this writing, the answer is yes, but that could change soon.

WHAT ARE NEW YORK STATE'S MARIJUANA LAWS?

According to New York State's current laws, anyone over the age of 21 can possess 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate (edibles, oil). It is legal for adults 21 years or older to consume cannabis in a private home or in most places tobacco can be consumed, with the exception of consumption in a motor vehicle, a private business (such as a restaurant patio), a hookah or “cigar bar,” or on federal property.

WHAT WOULD THE PROPOSED BILL CHANGE?

The new bill SB7604 proposed by State Sen. George Borrello, would prohibit public consumption or smoking of marijuana unless authorized by local governments. Basically, it would make it illegal to smoke marijuana in public where smoking of tobacco is allowed.

WHAT WOULD BE THE FINE FOR SMOKING IN PUBLIC IS THE BILL IS PASSED?

The proposed bill calls for a $125 fine for violations of the law. Current violations of the public consumption laws are subject to a $25 fine.

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Currently, New York is one of three states in the United States that has not banned public consumption of marijuana. The state could also allow local governments to handle the public consumption of marijuana as they do for alcohol. Currently, the state does not have a public ban on alcohol consumption but allows counties and towns to create their own laws.

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