Marijuana Possession Laws & Defense for Pennsylvania
Although many states have decriminalized marijuana or have approved the use of the drug for medical purposes, Pennsylvania continues to take a strict stance. In fact, in Pennsylvania, the drug is classified as a schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin and other so-called “hard drugs.”
If you assume even a small amount of marijuana is harmless and will not result in serious penalties or convictions, you’re wrong. Possession of marijuana, even in small amounts, may result in jail time, fines or both. You cannot use possession of prescription medication as a drug defense, and you may be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony if you are charged with marijuana possession in PA.
Marijuana Possession Penalties by Amount
- Less than 30 grams: Possession of marijuana in Pennsylvania is either a misdemeanor or felony. Anything under 30 grams is usually classified as a misdemeanor, as long as it is for personal use. Anything more than 30 grams may come with more serious consequences. First offenders caught with less than 30 grams for personal use may receive up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500. Usually, this is the result of a misdemeanor conviction. However, first offenders with no previous offenses may be given probation and not jail time.
- 30 grams or more: If a first-time offender is caught with more than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use, they may face fines of $5,000 and up to a year in jail. They’re less likely to be given probation.
First Possession Offense vs. Second Offense
For a second offense, the penalties are double. If a person is arrested with more than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use, for example, they may face up to $10,000 in fines and up to two years in jail for a second offense.
Marijuana Paraphernalia Possession & Sale Penalties
Possession of drug paraphernalia linked to marijuana can be considered a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the paraphernalia and whether you intend to use the paraphernalia yourself or are selling it. If you sell drug paraphernalia in the state, you may face fines of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail. If you sell drug paraphernalia to a minor, you may face fines of up to $5,000 and up to two years in jail.
Marijuana Distribution / Trafficking Penalties
Possession of drugs with intent to deliver or sell as well as any trafficking is considered a felony in Pennsylvania. Someone who is found guilty of selling marijuana faces a felony charge and may face up to five years in prison as well as fines of up to $10,000 for selling less than 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Selling more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana can result in up to 15 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines, even for a first conviction.
If the person is convicted of selling to a minor under the age of 21, they may face double penalties. Second convictions also come with double penalties. Selling within 250 feet of a playground or 1,000 feet of a school can result in prison sentences of two to four years, even for first offenders and even if the person buying drugs was not a minor.
Get Legal Defense for A Marijuana Possession Charge
If you have been charged with a drug offense or are about to be charged, contact MPL Law Firm to speak to a lawyer for marijuana possession in York, PA. A York, PA lawyer for marijuana charges at our law firm can review your case and look for ways to have charges reduced or dropped.
When you speak to a possession of marijuana attorney at our York, PA office, you are speaking to a legal professional with a focus on drug offenses. All our attorneys are caring and work hard to fully support our clients during every step of the legal process.