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Marijuana — Not Legal in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania citizens took to the streets to rally for the legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana for personal use. Advocates for marijuana legalization argued that 20 states and the District of Columbia permit the use of medical marijuana, while skeptics pointed to the impossibility of keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors and the problems created when people drive under the influence of drugs.

There is no medical necessity defense to possession of marijuana in Pennsylvania, where marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug. Pennsylvania law broadly divides marijuana possession into misdemeanor possession for personal use and felony possession with intent to deliver.

Misdemeanor marijuana possession

Simple possession of marijuana can be charged as possession of a controlled substance. Punishment is contingent on the record of the accused:

  • First Offense — Maximum of  one year imprisonment and a $5,000 fine
  • Second Offense — Maximum of  three years in prison and a $25,000 fine

Marijuana possession may also be charged as a misdemeanor, possession of 30 grams or less. This is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Felony marijuana crimes

Possession of marijuana with intent to deliver is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Possession with intent to deliver generally means someone has more marijuana than they intend to consume themselves. This crime is often charged when:

  • A dealer actually engages in drug sales to customers
  • A friend brings drugs to a social gathering where it is shared or purchased by a number of other consumers
  • A person is detained by police for some reason and found to have more marijuana in possession that one person could reasonably consume

Delivery of marijuana in a school zone or near a playground will garner a sentence of two to four years in prison. Delivery of marijuana to a minor by an adult seller will result in a felony conviction and a harsher penalty.

Pennsylvania treats marijuana possession, cultivation and distribution very seriously. If you or someone you care about is facing prosecution for any kind of marijuana-related crime, seek the experienced advice and skillful counsel of a Berks County drug defense attorney who will fight for the best possible result for you.

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