Getting Caught With Recreational Marijuana in Pennsylvania in 2019
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the recreational use of marijuana has been decriminalized. This doesn’t mean that marijuana is now legal, rather that in some areas the charge of possession is not pursued criminally. When caught, there will be no drug offense on your record, but you should expect a fine.
With decriminalization, you still face a risk of getting charged with a crime. When you possess a large amount of marijuana or transport the drug to a jurisdiction within Pennsylvania where it is not decriminalized, you could be facing criminal charges. Even if the entire state eventually chooses to either decriminalize cannabis or make it legal altogether, it is still a schedule I illegal substance under federal law.
Areas Where Marijuana is Decriminalized in Pennsylvania
In the following areas today, it is no longer a crime to possess recreational cannabis in the municipalities of Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and York, PA. You will only receive a small fine if you have less than 30 grams of marijuana or less than 8 grams of hash, oil, or concentrated cannabis. If you are charged with a crime in these municipalities, you need the representation of a drug lawyer in Philadelphia who will protect your rights and make sure you don’t get charged with a crime.
State Level Punishments for Marijuana
Outside of the select municipalities mentioned above, Pennsylvania is a large state and you have to be aware of punishments and charges within other jurisdictions. In these other jurisdictions, the prosecutor will charge you under state law, which carries more significant punishments.
- Possession: State law for cannabis possession is a misdemeanor that can result in up to one month in jail, $500 in fines with less than 30 grams of buds or 8 grams of hash or oil. More than 30 grams if a felony which carries a punishment of six to 12 months in jail and $5,000 in fines.
- Distribution: If you’re distributing marijuana less than 30 grams, you’ll receive the same penalties as possession if there is no evidence you were distributing. Selling more than 30 grams is a felony and punishable by a possible five-year prison sentence and up to $15,000 in penalties and fines.
- Cultivation: Growing and cultivating cannabis is always a felony and carries the same penalties as distribution.
In the state of Pennsylvania, even though some municipalities have decriminalized possession of the drug, you face steep penalties if you’re not careful. Even if the state chooses legalization, you’d likely be held to the same punishments for distribution if you’re not a licensed retailer. There are situations where you’ll face charges and need a reputable Philadelphia criminal defense attorney to represent your marijuana or other drug charges. Act fast once you’re charged and contact The Law Offices of Richard J. Fuschino, Jr. today.