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NY Penal Law § 221.50: Criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree

June 25, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

NY Penal Law § 221.50: Criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree

Under New York Penal Code § 221.50, criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree is one of three felony offenses involving the sale of marihuana. The two ways that you can violate this statute are as follows:


  1. The first way is to sell a quantity of marihuana that is more than 4 ounces byt less than 16 ounces. 
  2. The second way is to sell any quantity of marihuana to an individual who is younger than 18 years old. 


For the purposes of this statute, the word  “marihuana” includes the following (as long as it contains marihuana):


  1. Compounds
  2. Preparations
  3. Substances
  4. Mixtures


Bear in mind that the New York criminal code has a rather broad definition of the term “sell.” You can face conviction under this statute even if you do not exchange the marihuana for cash or currency. The definition of selling under New York Penal Code § 220.001(1) also means to exchange, give or dispose of to another, or to offer or agree to do so. Therefore, you can get convicted under the criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree even if the “sale” was not completed, or even if you did not receive anything in exchange for passing marihuana off to another person.



While he was under police surveillance, a man approaches a woman and asks her if he could buy a bag of marihuana from her. The man gives the woman some cash and the woman hands him a couple of small baggies that appear to contain marihuana. The police place the woman under arrest and charge her with criminal sale of marihuana. If the police determine that the total amount in the two packets of marihuana was 4 ounces or more, then the woman could face a fourth degree criminal sale of marihuana charge.


Offenses that are Related

Criminal possession of marihuana in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 221.25

Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 220.41

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 220.18


Possible Defenses

If you can demonstrate that the quantity of marihuana involved in the incident was lighter than 4 ounces, then the prosecutor would have to either dismiss or lower the charge. Numerous arrests related to selling marihuana or other drugs involve the deployment of undercover police officers or confidential informants (CI) who initiate a drug buy to catch a dealer in the act. If you can argue that the undercover officer or CI was too aggressive in initiating the purchase, then you may have an entrapment defense.



Since criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree is categorized as a class D felony, if you are convicted, the sentence you could possibly get will be up to 7 years in prison. Your final sentence will depend upon a number of factors, including your prior criminal record. If you have been previously convicted of a felony, you will face a longer sentence than if this is your first offense. On top of the jail time, there may be financial consequences to a criminal sale of marihuana in the second degree conviction. A judge could order you to pay a fine, and you will also have to pay various fees associated with being convicted of a crime in New York.



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