The prohibition on marijuana in the United States seems to be coming to an end, as legalization has grown increasingly widespread over the last decade. Pennsylvania is just one of the two-thirds of U.S. states that have legalized medical marijuana, with many lawmakers in other states considering establishing medical programs as well. While this has been a welcome change for those who use medical or recreational marijuana, the legal system in the U.S. has made it so every state can set its own laws with regard to possession and usage. Keep reading if you live in Pennsylvania and want to know more about the laws in your state.
What are the legal restrictions on marijuana in Pennsylvania?
Medical use of products containing marijuana was legalized in 2016 after a bill was passed by Pennsylvania lawmakers through a senate bill in the state legislature.
Every state has different regulations for its medical marijuana program, set by the Department of Health. It is a requirement to have a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians must be at least 18 years of age to make use of the program. If you’re planning on toking up in the Keystone State, you should make sure you’re familiar with Pennsylvania marijuana laws.
When the medical program was initially enacted, flower was not permitted under state law. Thanks to a bill signed by Governor Wolf, herbal marijuana can now be sold. The possession limits are based on how many days worth of medicine you can possess. Medical marijuana patients are now allowed to keep enough marijuana for a 90-day supply. Caregivers can also pick up medical products for patients, though the caregiver also needs to be a Pennsylvania resident.
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The state’s medical marijuana program imposes a 5% tax on growers, processors, and dispensaries. Medical marijuana is available for the treatment of serious medical conditions. Conditions can be added through an application process and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Home cultivation or cultivation generally is not permitted in Pennsylvania.
Marijuana is still a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act on a federal level and in the eyes of the federal government and the DOJ. You also cannot take with you to another state, even if they also have a medical program like New York, New Jersey, or the District of Columbia.
How is a violation of medical marijuana law punished?
Since recreational use isn’t permitted in Pennsylvania, possession without being a medical marijuana patient holding a valid ID card is illegal. Some jurisdictions like Philadelphia and Lancaster have decriminalized marijuana. In jurisdictions where possession of marijuana is decriminalized, it is treated as a civil infraction or offense.
Simple possession in Pennsylvania is a misdemeanor, which carries a fine and the possibility of jail time. Less than 30 grams has a maximum of a $500 fine and 30 days incarceration. However, more than 30 grams can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and a year of incarceration.
Distribution of marijuana products is a felony in Pennsylvania. Under 1,000 pounds can land you in jail for up to five years with a fine of up to $5,000. If you have over 1,000 pounds, the maximum sentence is 10 years and the maximum fine is $100,000. Whether you were caught with a small amount are being charged with a felony, you’ll want a qualified attorney to help you through the process.
Pennsylvania has legalized medical and many areas are looking toward decriminalization. The next step for activists in the state is to push for full recreational legalization, which some state officials have signaled openness to. Meanwhile, if you’re in legal trouble related to use, talk to a lawyer. A good lawyer may be able to help you obtain an expungement of your criminal record in certain cases. Even with this moment and legalization becoming more commonplace, it’s essential that you still follow all the rules and guidelines set by the state in which you live.