Despite the fact that marijuana (often spelled as “marihuana”) use and medical marijuana use has been decriminalized, or even legalized, in some states in the U.S., Pennsylvania has not legalized the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational use.
While being charged with a marijuana-related crime isn’t the most serious conviction that a person can face, it is one that can have financial and other long-term consequence. The more marijuana the accused is accused of possessing, or if the charge involves distribution of marijuana, the more serious the penalties.
If you are facing any type of drug charge in Stroudsburg, Palmerton, or Bethlehem, retaining legal counsel as soon as possible can help you protect your rights.
Understanding Marijuana Laws in Pennsylvania
There are three marijuana-related offenses in Pennsylvania. The first two marijuana offenses are known as the possession with presumption of personal use, and simple possession of marijuana (in this case, personal use is deemed as less than 30 grams). The third offense is the possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, or “deliver” the marijuana.
Possession for personal use is a misdemeanor, and simple possession may also be regarded as a misdemeanor, depending upon the circumstances. Possession with the intent to distribute, though, is usually a felony. Additionally, the sale or possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia is also against the law in Pennsylvania, according to 35 Pa. C.S.A. Sec. 780-113.
The distribution of marijuana under the amount of 30 grams, without remuneration, is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. However, all other distributions or sales of marijuana are felonies. Other possible felony charges may include the sale of marijuana paraphernalia to a minor.
Consequences for a Marijuana-related Crime
The penalties for possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania differ greatly depending upon the specifics of each case. For convictions of possession involving less than 30 grams of marijuana, the penalty will be no more than a fine of $500 and a jail sentence of 30 days, as well as a possible driver’s license revocation. In the case that possession was of more than 30 grams, the incarceration time is bumped to a max sentence of one year, and a fine of $5,000. In both cases, the crime is considered a misdemeanor.
When it comes to distribution, the law becomes more serious, and more heavily punishes those convicted of marijuana distribution. While a person who distributed less than 30 grams of marijuana, and without receiving payment, will face a max sentence of 30 days in incarceration and a $500 fine, a person who sells marijuana to a minor or sells more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana may face charges that includes a fine of $5,000-$100,000 and incarceration time of one to 10 years.
Additionally, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Sec. 7508 defines, more specifically, the penalties for the trafficking of marijuana, outlining the penalties for trafficking depending upon the amount of marijuana and a person’s previous conviction history.
For the distribution of possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia, the penalties are a little less harsh. In most cases, the conviction is a misdemeanor charge that will result in a maximum sentencing of one-year incarceration time and a fine of $2,500 dollars, except in the case that a minor is involved.