It’s Complicated: Understanding New Regulations Around Marijuana
The incremental nationwide transition toward marijuana legalization has made its way to Pennsylvania where medical marijuana has been allowed for quite some time. The availability and distribution method has been said to be somewhat of a model for other states regarding how to roll out an effective system that caters to a large swath of the population. The number of medical marijuana cardholders has grown significantly for this year alone. Even though the state legislature has made possession of marijuana a non-criminal citation for possession of under 30 grams, which is approximately one ounce, some Pennsylvania cities have decriminalized small amounts possession even further.
Pennsylvania state law sets a standard for possession of under 30 grams as non-criminal with a minimum fine of $500. Possession of over 30 grams that do not qualify as trafficking can have a fine increase of up to $5000 depending on the material case facts. This change in the law was not acceptable to certain cities. Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana possession in 2014 to $25 followed by Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and York. Those caught with marijuana in public receive a $100 fine.
Ramifications of the New Policy
This means that where a Pennsylvania resident gets caught with the illegal substance makes a significant difference. This situation has changed the landscape for prosecuting marijuana possession throughout the state. Those residents who live just outside of the specific cities can go into the city and be much less susceptible to a fine for possession or public use. It also means that some local courts outside of these regions could set considerably lower court policies for those who are cited in their jurisdictions.
Possible Case Settlements
The new adjustments in the marijuana law mean that defending attorneys can also have more success arranging a plea bargain or even a deferred judgment even in solid cases where evidence is non-disputable. The tide is turning in Pennsylvania, and even the medical marijuana allowance is being widened now that temporary marijuana cards are being issued for low-level anxiety. In the unpredictable times in which we live, more residents are going to doctors for authorization to possess marijuana for medical use. This will in turn eventually loosen restrictions even more for low-population state court jurisdictions as the general trend toward legalization continues.
Contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
It is important to remember that marijuana possession is still against the law in Pennsylvania, and it is often necessary to retain aggressive legal counsel when fighting a possession citation in court. A drug conviction can still impact the life of the defendant. Always call an experienced attorneys like Fuschino law, drug lawyers in Philadelphia for comprehensive representation.