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Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

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Penalty Details

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.

See

Possession

Possession of 30 grams or less of flower or 8 grams or less of hashish (concentrates are not further defined) is a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Possession of more than 30 grams of flower or more than 8 grams of hashish is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 6 – 12 months incarceration and a $5,000 fine. A second or subsequent conviction carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 fine and maximum of 18 – 36 months incarceration.

First possession conviction is eligible for conditional release, wherein the offender gets probation for up to a year instead of jail time.

A second or subsequent conviction can lead to a doubled penalty.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat § 780-113 
  • 35 P.S. §780-113(a)(16)
  • 35 Pa.C.S.A. 780-113(a)(31) 

Sale or Distribution

Distribution of 30g or less of marijuana without compensation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Sale of more than 30 grams is a felony punishable by 2.5 – 5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine for a first offense.

Delivery of marijuana within 1,000 ft of a school or within 250 ft. of recreational playground is punishable by 2-4 years in prison.

Distribution to a minor by one over the age of 21 is a felony and brings doubled penalties upon conviction.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat.§ 780-113 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat.§ 1104 

Cultivation

Growing marijuana, even with no intention of selling it, is a felony and is punishable by 2.5 to 5 years in prison and $15,000 in fines. The Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines state that possession with intent to deliver less than 10 plants is felony.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. § 780-113 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1104 

Hash & Concentrates

Hashish is a Schedule I drug.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-102 
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-104(i)(iii)(16) 

Possessing less than 8 grams of hashish (concentrates are not further defined) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 30 days. Possessing more than 8 grams of hashish is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $5,000 or a term of imprisonment no greater than 6 – 12 months.

See

  • 35 Pa.C.S.A. 780-113(a)(31) 
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(b) 
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(g) 

Manufacturing hashish is a felony punishable by a fine no greater than $15,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 5 years. Subsequent convictions for manufacturing hashish are punishable by a fine no greater than $30,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 10 years.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(a)(30) 
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(f)(2) 
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-115(a) 

The offenses and penalties for selling or trafficking hashish are the same as the trafficking penalties for marijuana. For more information see Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws section of this website.

Any device or equipment used to manufacture or create hashish is considered drug paraphernalia. Possession of any such device or equipment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year. Manufacturing or selling any such device or equipment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year. If any such device or equipment was sold to a minor, the offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by a fine no greater than $5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 2 years. Advertising the sale of any such device or equipment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-102(b) 
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(a)(31)-(34) 
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(i) 

Paraphernalia

Possessing or selling paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum of 6 – 12 months incarceration and a fine of not more than $2,500. Delivering paraphernalia to a minor who is 3 or more years his junior is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by not more than 2 years and a fine not exceeding $5,000.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. § 780-113
  • 35 Pa.C.S.A. 780-113(a)(32)
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1104 

Sentencing

Sentencing for marijuana crimes in PA varies by the weight of the plant matter seized.

In PA, all first time drug convictions have the possibility for probation for a first offense.

A second or subsequent drug related conviction makes the offender eligible for double penalties.

See

  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. § 780-113 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103 
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1104 

Miscellaneous

The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any person upon receiving a certified record of the person’s conviction of any offense involving the possession, sale, delivery, offering for sale, holding fr sale or giving away of any controlled substance under the laws of the US, this Commonwealth or any other state. (1st offense six months, 2nd one year, 3+ two years).

See

  • PA. Cons. Stat. § 1532(c) 
CONDITIONAL RELEASE

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

DRUGGED DRIVING

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. 

HEMP

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see: Medical Use.

Pennsylvania Drugged Driving

In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives (1) with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act in his or her blood,* (2) with a metabolite of a schedule I substance in his or her blood,* (3) under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs to a degree which impairs his or her ability to safely drive, OR (4) under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug or combination of drugs to a degree which impairs the individual’s ability to safely drive. 75 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 3802(d)(1)-(3) (West 2010).

NOTE: The Pennsylvania legislature has criminalized driving while a cannabis metabolite (which can linger in a person’s system for weeks after ingestion) is present in an operator’s system – even absent impairment. There is, however, a certain threshold for concentration of illicit metabolites that must be met before the results of a chemical test indicating cannabis metabolites can be introduced as evidence.

The Pennsylvania Bulletin, vol. 34, issue 7 initially specified the threshold level for THC or its metabolites at 5 nanograms per milliliter. However, this minimum threshold was amended to 1ng/ml in 2011, as noted in the April 30, 2011 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Any amount of cannabis metabolites at or above this level can be introduced as evidence of a per se violation of the statute proscribing operation with Schedule I metabolites, and can be introduced in a proceeding for prosecution for driving while impaired by drugs. However, the mere presence of metabolites are not enough to convict for offenses requiring impairment. In such a proceeding the state must show actual impairment.

Affirmative defense

The fact that a person charged with violating this chapter is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol or controlled substances is not a defense to a charge of violating this chapter.Id. § 3810.

Implied Consent

  • Any person who drives in Pennsylvania shall be deemed to have given consent to chemical tests of breath, blood or urine for the purpose of the presence of a controlled substance. Id. § 1547(a).
  • If any person placed under arrest is requested to submit to chemical testing and refuses to do so, the testing shall not be conducted but upon notice by the police officer, the department shall suspend the operating privilege of the person from 6-18 months. Id. § 1547(b)(1).
  • In any summary proceeding or criminal proceeding in which the defendant is charged with a violation arising out of the same action, the fact that the defendant refused to submit to chemical testing may be introduced in evidence along with other testimony concerning the circumstances of the refusal. No presumptions shall arise from this evidence but it may be considered along with other factors concerning the charge. Id. § 1547(e).
  • The person tested shall be permitted to have a physician of his own choosing administer an additional breath, blood or urine chemical test and the results of the test shall also be admissible in evidence. The chemical testing given at the direction of the police officer shall not be delayed by a person’s attempt to obtain an additional test. Id. § 1547(h).
  • Officer’s refusal to allow accused to consult with attorney before deciding whether or not to submit to chemical test was not unconstitutional or otherwise improper. The right to speak with an attorney before deciding whether to submit to chemical tests is not a guaranteed constitutional right. Herbert v. Com.,460 A.2d 920(1983).

Penalties

  • First offense misdemeanor – imprisonment of for a minimum of 72 consecutive hours, maximum imprisonment of 6 months; fine of not less than $1000, not more than $5000; offender required attend alcohol highway safety school; license suspension of at least 18 months; offender may be required to complete 150 hours of community service; offender may be required to attend a victim impact panel. Id.3803(a)(1); Id. § 3804(c)(1)(i); Id. §§ 3804(c)(1)(ii)-(iii); Id. §§ 3804(e)-(f).
  • Second offense misdemeanor – imprisonment for a minimum of 90 days, maximum imprisonment of 6 months; fine of not less than $1,500; offender required to attend alcohol highway safety school; license suspension of at least 18 months; offender may be required to complete 150 hours of community service; offender may be required to attend a victim impact panel. Id. §§ 3803(a)(1); Id. §§ 3804(c)(2)(i)-(iii); Id. § 3803(a)(1); Id. §§ 3804(e)-(f).
  • Third and subsequent offense 2nd degree misdemeanor – minimum imprisonment for 1 year; fine of not less than $2,500; license suspension of at least 18 months; offender may be required to complete 150 hours of community service; offender may be required to attend a victim impact panel. Id. § 3803(a)(2); Id. §§ 3804(c)(3)(i)-(ii); Id. §§ 3804(e)-(f).

Sobriety Checkpoints

Pennsylvania allows law enforcement to conduct sobriety checkpoints under the state and federal Constitution.

  • Law enforcement should provide sufficient warning of sobriety roadblocks through newspaper publication and signs, but need not provide an opportunity to avoid the checkpoint. Commonwealth v. Pacek, 691 A.2d 466 (1997).
  • Sobriety checkpoint locations must be in an area with a high number of DUI related accidents and arrests. Commonwealth v. Blee, 695 A.2d 802 (1997).
  • Performing a legal U-turn before a checkpoint is not justification to stop a motorist. Commonwealth v. Scavello, 703 A.2d 36 (1997).

Case Law

Com. v. Etchison, 916 A.2d 1169 (2007), affirmed 943 A.2d 262 – There is no equal protection violation in disallowing persons to operate with Schedule I drug or metabolite present in system; conviction does not rest on whether driver is impaired, but instead statute prohibits operation of a motor vehicle by any driver with Schedule I substances present. Pennsylvania court found all drivers are treated the same under statute.

Evidence failed to establish that defendant was under influence of drug or combination of drugs to degree which impaired his ability to safely operate his vehicle; expert witness testified under cross-examination that presence of metabolites was not indication of present impairment but only that substance was ingested sometime previously. Defendant was, however, convicted for operating with illicit metabolites in blood.

Com. v. Bishop, 126 A.2d 533, (1956) — Statute making it unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor, or any narcotic drug or habit producing drug, defines only one offense, namely, operating a motor vehicle while under an unnatural influence. 75 P.S. § 231(f). Where defendant was prosecuted for operation of motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor and he was acquitted, he could not thereafter be tried for operation of motor vehicle while under influence of narcotic drug based upon the same incident. 75 P.S. § 624(8).

Commonwealth v. Woodruff, 668 A.2d 1158, 1161 (1995) — An intoxicated individual may use a vehicle as shelter as long as they do not drive or operate it, and are not in actual physical control of the vehicle. “A combination of the following factors is required in determining whether a person had ‘actual physical control’ of an automobile: the motor running, the location of the vehicle, and additional evidence showing that the defendant had driven the vehicle.”

Per Se Drugged Driving Laws

Pennsylvania has a per se drugged driving law enacted for cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and other controlled substances. (75 Pa. C.S.A. 3802(d) & 34 Pa.B. 919) 

Under Pennsylvania’s law, motorists with detectable levels of THC in the blood above 1ng/ml (reduced from 5ng/ml on April 30, 2011) are guilty of DUID. 

Pennsylvania’s law took effect in October 2003.

Pennsylvania Hemp Law

Year Passed: 2016

Summary: Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation, House Bill 967 into law on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. The law allows for registered individuals to grow, cultivate, and/or market industrial hemp. Agencies, colleges, and universities are permitted to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. It also creates the Hemp Research Board, which is responsible for developing regulations, applications for registration, inspections, a database of registered persons, registration fees, and guidelines for labeling and testing. The law took effect upon the Governor’s signature.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law

Status

 

Not Yet Operational

Law Signed:

 2016

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intractable seizures
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathies
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Terminal illness (defined as 12 months or fewer to live)

PATIENT POSSESSION LIMITS

30 day supply — only cannabis-infused polls, oils, topical ointments, tinctures or liquids are allowed.

HOME CULTIVATION

No

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES

Yes, up to 25 growers and processors, and as many as 50 dispensaries, which could each operate three locations. However, no dispensaries are operational at this time.

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES OPERATIONAL

Not yet

CAREGIVERS

Yes

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF REGISTERED PATIENTS

RECIPROCITY

Under Section 2106 of the law, it is not a violation of state law “if a parent or guardian of a minor under 18 years of age lawfully obtains medical marijuana from another state, territory of the United States or any other country to be administered to the minor.”

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