New York just made headlines for becoming the latest state to legalize marijuana but New Yorkers will still not be able to cross the border with the drug.
“If you’re going to attempt to cross with any kind of marijuana with the idea that you believe it to be legal now, it’s not legal,” said Jeffrey Toth of Customs and Border Protection in the Buffalo field office. “We still fall under federal regulations, we still fall under federal laws and if we catch you with it you will be subject to fines and possible arrest.”
Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug according to the DEA. It still falls into the same category as heroin, LSD and ecstasy and is considered illegal.
Warren County Sheriff Brian Zeybel said people should treat it like crossing stateliness with a handgun.
“It would be the same mental checklist as ‘OK, I want to go to Wegmans or go to the Southern Tier for supper. Do I have my handgun in my vehicle?’” Zeybel said.
Marijuana legislation on a federal level is gaining legs in D.C. this year. The House of Representatives approved a bill to decriminalize the drug, and during a visit to Buffalo Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate could soon follow suit.
“I support decriminalization at the federal level,” Schumer has said. “And I will be introducing legislation with a few of my colleagues shortly.”
On a brighter note for New Yorkers, memorandum from the New York Police Department (NYPD) was recently sent out that advises officers not to stop residents who are smoking marijuana in public.
The memo was shared with The Hill on Friday and outlines how officers are to approach the drug now.
Under the law, residents can have up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate on them outside of their homes.
The memo says that smoking marijuana in places such as sidewalks, on front stops and other public places “is not a basis for an approach, stop, summons, arrest or, search.”
The policy also specifies that the smell of pot alone, whether or not it is burnt, “no longer establishes probable cause of a crime to search a vehicle.”