BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the federal law enforcement agency that patrols international borders, is reminding New Yorkers that marijuana is still federally criminalized. Although New York has joined Canada in legalizing cannabis, until it's legalized nationally, don't plan on taking your stash on a road trip just yet.
"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 CBP 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."
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, meaning it's in the same category as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. It's defined as a drug with high potential for abuse and is illegal.
You'll also want to think twice before traveling with marijuana when visiting our neighbors to the south. Weed is still illegal in Pennsylvania, and with many often driving back and forth, 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.
But there are now calls for cannabis to be legalized federally. Last December, 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 said. "And I will be introducing legislation with a few of my colleagues shortly."