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Gov. Wolf Aims to Decriminalize Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has joined an increasing number of public officials who support the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.

During an interview on PBS affiliate WITF, Gov. Wolf said that arrests for possession of small amounts of the drug are “clogging up our prisons…and it’s hurting our economy.” He went on to say that he believes marijuana should be decriminalized in the state, beyond the major urban areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — where decriminalization measures have already been implemented.

This was the first time Wolf has made statements in favor of decriminalization, and he has also said in the past that he supports the legalization of medical marijuana. He also said that the state should “watch what happens in Colorado, Washington and Oregon” regarding the potential effects of fully legalizing recreational marijuana. Those states, along with the District of Columbia and Alaska, have made recreational marijuana legal in recent years.

Current marijuana possession laws in Pennsylvania

At this time in Pennsylvania, individuals found to be possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana could be subject to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500, with possession of more than 30 grams resulting in up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines. First-time offenders often receive a fine or probation.  It’s also worth noting that those convicted of possessing significantly more than 30 grams of marijuana may be charged with possession with the intent to deliver, which comes with even more severe penalties.

Although marijuana decriminalization could be on its way to Pennsylvania, you could still face serious consequences if charged with possession. To learn more about your options if you are in this situation, consult dedicated Berks County drug crime defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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