Pennsylvania takes marijuana use seriously. If you possess any amount of marijuana at all, you may face jail time if arrested. If you are facing marijuana charges in Pennsylvania, please contact us to speak with a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about fighting Pennsylvania drug charges.
Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws
Possession of marijuana may be treated as either a misdemanor or a felony in Pennsylvania, depending on how much marijuana is in your possession at the time of arrest and whether you intended to sell the marijuana rather than possessing it for personal use.
Possession of marijuana for personal use is generally considered a misdemeanor, although possessing more than 30 grams at a time has more serious penalties than posessing smaller amounts. Selling marijuana is a felony in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania also doesn’t allow the possession or sale of marijuana paraphernalia. As with possession of marijuana itself, possessing paraphernalia can be considered either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on circumstances.
Pennsylvania Marijuana Possession Penalties
Possessing marijuana in Pennsylvania is punishable by both imprisonment and a fine. First offenders are Typically given probation rather than jail terms. If they complete the probation with no further problems, the charge may be removed from the person’s criminal record.
Possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500, while possessing more than 30 grams for personal use is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.
The penalties for these misdemeanors double if the person is arrested again for the same offense. For example, a person arrested for possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana may be sentenced to two years in jail and a fine of $10,000 if it is his or her second offense.
Selling marijuana is a felony rather than a misdemeanor, and is therefore punishable by time in prison rather than jail. Selling less than 1,000 pounds of marijuana is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, while selling greater amounts may be punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Selling to a person under the age of 21 incurs double penalties, as does a second conviction. Selling within 1,000 feet of a school or 250 feet of a recreational playground is punishable by a prison sentence of 2 to 4 years.
Selling paraphernalia is illegal in Pennsylvania; this is punishable with up to a year in jail and a fine of of up to $2,500, but these penalties also double if the sale is to a minor.
DUI Drugs, Including Marijuana
Pennsylvania also has strict “drugged driving” laws. It is against the law to drive with more than 1 nanogram per milliliter of marijuana in your system, regardless of whether you are impaired at the time. However, police must have probable cause to suspect impairment before giving you a blood or urine test.
Drugged driving carries serious penalties. For a first offense, you must serve 72 hours to 6 months in jail, pay a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, lose your driver’s license for 18 months and attend traffic school designed to teach you about alcohol and drug safety while driving. For a second offense, you must spend at leat 90 days in jail and pay a fine of at least $1,500; otherwise the penalties are the same. A third offense is considered a second degree misdemeanor instead of a first degree misdemeanor, which requires you to spend at least a year in jail and pay a fine of $2,500 in addition to losing your license for 18 months.
Decriminalization in Pennsylvania
There is currently no movement in Pennsylvania to decriminalize marijuana. However, since 2005, some police officers have begun charging offenders with disorderly conduct instead if they possess less than 30 grams of marijuana. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle-old/395/westernpa.shtml
Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania
Although there is currently no provision for medical use of marijuana in Pennsylvania, medical marijuana bills were introduced into the state Senate and House of Representatives in December 2011. If passed, this legislation would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes without penalty to the user or the prescribing doctor. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002481#PA
There are no laws authorizing the industrial production of hemp in Pennsylvania.
Marijuana Possession Defenses
First offenders often get probation rather than jail time. In addition, if you are a first offender, you may be eligible to enter a diversion program such as an inpatient rehabilitation program for marijuana addiction. If you were arrested for DUI, you may be able to reduce the charges to driving with cannibis in your system if you can prove you were not impaired while driving.