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Pennsylvania Laws on Marijuana Possession and Sale

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

Pennsylvania Laws on Marijuana Possession and Sale

Marijuana laws in Pennsylvania can be pretty confusing. Even though some states have legalized weed, it’s still illegal under Pennsylvania law. But different cities like Philadelphia have decriminalized it. Basically, it’s a mess trying to figure it all out.

Let’s start with the basics. Under Pennsylvania law, marijuana is illegal. Doesn’t matter if you have a little bit on you or a lot – it’s against the law. If you get caught with up to 30 grams, you could get slapped with a misdemeanor charge. That could mean up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Harsh, right? It gets worse if you have more than 30 grams on you. Then you could get up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine! Crazy.

Of course, getting caught with weed will also get your license suspended for 6 months automatically. Not good if you need to drive to work! Now, if it’s your first offense you might be able to get probation instead of jail time. But if you get caught again, the penalties get doubled. So your second misdemeanor weed charge would mean up to 60 days in jail and a $1000 fine. The penalties keep getting worse from there.

Selling weed is even worse news. If you get caught selling up to 30 grams – and didn’t make any money off it – you could get the same misdemeanor as for possession. But if you sold more than 30 grams, that’s a felony charge. We’re talking 2.5-5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine! Even worse, if you sell weed near a school or playground, the jail time goes up to 2-4 years. Not fun. And if you sell to a minor? Double penalties for you.

Growing weed in Pennsylvania is also a big no-no. Doesn’t matter if you were just growing a couple plants for yourself – it’s a felony. With 2.5-5 years in jail and $15,000 in fines as punishment. Harsh.

Okay, let’s switch gears and talk medical marijuana. Pennsylvania does have a medical marijuana program that lets some people use weed legally. But you can’t just say you need it for anxiety or something. You have to qualify for the program, get an ID card, and buy your weed from a licensed dispensary. And even then there are limits on how much you can have. So medical marijuana is not as simple as it sounds.

There’s also a lot of confusion about CBD oil. CBD from hemp is totally legal in Pennsylvania. But CBD from the marijuana plant is still illegal. Tricky! You gotta know where your CBD is coming from.

Some cities like Philadelphia have decriminalized weed possession. That means if you have less than 30 grams, it’s just a civil violation instead of a criminal charge. You’ll get a $25 fine instead of jail time. But state law still says it’s illegal, so be careful if you travel outside Philly with weed on you.

Driving under the influence of weed is a big problem too. Pennsylvania has a zero tolerance policy for driving high. Even weeks after smoking, you could still get hit with a DUI if you have any THC in your system. For first-time offenders, expect up to 6 months in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a 1-year license suspension. And it gets worse if you get another DUI.

So that gives you an overview of the confusing patchwork of marijuana laws in PA. Possession, sale, and growing are illegal statewide. Medical marijuana is tightly restricted. Some cities have decriminalized. And you can still get a DUI long after smoking. Not an easy situation for weed lovers to navigate.

If you do get charged with a marijuana crime, don’t panic. There are good defenses a lawyer can use. For example, if the cops didn’t have a warrant or probable cause to search you and found weed, the evidence could get thrown out. Or if the cops violated your rights in some other way. A good lawyer will look for issues like that to help get your charges reduced or dismissed.

The bottom line is that marijuana is risky business in Pennsylvania. You really gotta know the laws and be smart about it if you want to avoid jail time or other harsh penalties. And never drive high – that’s asking for trouble! If you do end up getting charged, get a lawyer on your side right away. Don’t try to navigate these complicated laws alone. With an experienced lawyer, you’ll have the best shot at beating your marijuana charges.


[1] Pennsylvania Laws and Penalties – NORML. (2023). Retrieved from https://norml.org/laws/pennsylvania-penalties-2/

[2] Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws and Penalties – The Fishman Firm. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.thefishmanfirm.com/pennsylvania-marijuana-laws-penalties/

[3] Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws | DRK Attorneys. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.drkattorneys.com/criminal-defense/drug-crimes/marijuana-laws/

[4] Crimes Code of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania [PDF]. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.wcupa.edu/_services/studentHealthServices/documents/Marijuana_CrimesCode.pdf

[5] How much weed can you legally possess in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware? – Philadelphia Inquirer. (2023). Retrieved from https://www.inquirer.com/philly-tips/marijuana-possession-laws-pennsylvania-new-jersey-delaware.html

[6] What are the penalties for marijuana possession in Pennsylvania? – Super Lawyers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.superlawyers.com/ask/drug-and-alcohol-violations/pennsylvania/what-are-the-penalties-for-marijuana-possession-in-pennsylvania/6b3f7249-0cfe-4059-a388-507c9463096b.html

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