Marijuana possession in Pennsylvania: Rights and risks

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2024 | Drug Crimes, Drug Violations

Despite the buzz around marijuana’s legalization and medical use across America, Pennsylvania remains one of several U.S. states that still has sanctions over the use of the substance.

With more states approving the recreational use of cannabis, where does the Keystone State currently stand? This blog will explore Pennsylvania’s current marijuana laws, reveal what’s legal and what’s not, and the penalties for violating the rules.

Medical marijuana allowed

Pennsylvania legalizes the possession and use of medical cannabis. By law, patients and their caregivers can only buy medical marijuana from an approved dispensary. However, they must have a valid identification card issued by the state Department of Health to purchase.

Purchasing medical cannabis without a valid ID is an offense.

In addition, medical marijuana dispensaries may only sell the substance to patients or caregivers in the following forms:

  • Pills
  • Oils
  • Topical forms
  • Forms suited for vaporization or nebulization
  • Tinctures
  • Liquids

It’s illegal to dispense cannabis in dry leaf or plant form.

Recreational cannabis still prohibited

On the flip side, the state still prohibits any recreational use. The penalties for possession of recreational cannabis for personal use are based on the amount the offender had at the time of the offense:

  • Possession of 30 grams or less: The offense is a misdemeanor, subject to up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
  • Possession of more than 30 grams: The offense becomes a felony, punishable by up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines.

Cultivating any number of cannabis plants is also a felony, which leads to up to five years of prison and $15,000 in fines on conviction.

In summary, Pennsylvania allows the medical use of cannabis for as long as the patient has the right ID card. Recreational use, however, remains illegal. On top of fines and jail time, offenders also get a criminal record on conviction. Even a misdemeanor on record can harm a person’s employment, education and housing opportunities.

If you face charges for possession, it’s important to seek the advice of a legal professional who can help you navigate Pennsylvania’s complex cannabis laws.

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