Marijuana laws are an evolving and complicated aspect of criminal law. As many states move to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, it can be difficult to keep track of the consequences of marijuana use in Pennsylvania.

The use and possession of marijuana in Pennsylvania remains a criminal offense unless you are in possession of a valid medical marijuana ID card and comply with the applicable requirements. Under state law, possessing any amount of marijuana is a crime and can result in criminal charges.

If you are found to be in possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, you may be charged with misdemeanor possession, which can result in a 500$ fine and up to 30 days in jail. If you are found to be in possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, you may be charged with a more severe misdemeanor and subject to fines of up to $5,000 as well as up to a year in jail. While these are the applicable marijuana charges under Pennsylvania state law, several municipalities, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have decriminalized marijuana possession of up to 30 grams. If you are arrested for marijuana possession in one of these municipalities, you may be able to avoid a misdemeanor charge and only be subject to a violation or infraction and lesser fines.

While possession has been decriminalized in certain places, the cultivation, selling and distribution of marijuana remains a serious offense throughout the state and can result in much more serious charges. These crimes are generally broken down based on the amount of marijuana or marijuana plants in one’s possession. For instance:

  • Having two to nine pounds of marijuana or ten to 20 plants can result in up to a year in prison and $5,000 in fines for a first offense.
  • Ten to 49 pounds of marijuana or 21 to 50 plants can result in up to three years in prison and a $15,000 fine for a first offense.
  • Having more than 49 pounds or 50 plants can lead to five years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Pennsylvania residents should also be aware that possession of marijuana paraphernalia and driving under the influence of marijuana are also criminal activities that can result in fines and jail time.

If you have recently been arrested on suspected marijuana possession or marijuana cultivation, selling or distribution, it is important to speak with a Pennsylvania criminal attorney as soon as possible in order to determine what marijuana charges might apply in your jurisdiction. An experienced criminal attorney can evaluate your circumstances and help advise you on the charges you may face.

At Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law, I frequently work with individuals facing marijuana charges and understand the nuances of how decriminalization may apply. To set up a time to speak with me at my Somerset office, please call 814-443-1631 or contact me online.