Jenny Bloom

October 7, 2019

In the State of Pennsylvania, cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance. No one can legally possess, buy or use marijuana or its derivatives unless they are participants in the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. These patients must obtain their cannabis products from a state-licensed dispensary.

However, the program is still in the process of being implemented by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. When implementation is complete (expected early 2018), medical cannabis patients will have legal access to marijuana to treat state-approved chronic, debilitating medical conditions.

Medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania will not be allowed to buy or use cannabis in plant form. But, they will have access to derivatives, such as cannabis-infused oils, pills, liquids, tinctures and topical ointments. Although coming soon, there are currently no operational medical cannabis dispensaries in this state.

Possessing Marijuana in Pennsylvania

It is a crime in Pennsylvania to possess any amount of cannabis at this time. Related crimes are punishable as follows:

  • Under 30 grams = Misdemeanor: Fine of $500 and/or 30 days in jail
  • Over 30 grams = Misdemeanor: Fine up to $5,000 and/or 1 year in jail
  • First-time conviction = Up to 1-year probation (conditional release instead of jail time)
  • Subsequent conviction = Double penalty amounts

Hashish & Concentrates

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THC concentrates and hash are Schedule I drugs in the State of Pennsylvania. Possession of such substances is punishable as follows:

  • Under 8 grams = Misdemeanor: Fine up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail
  • Over 8 grams = Misdemeanor: Fine up to $5,000 or up to 1 year in jail

Selling Marijuana in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to sell, distribute or deliver cannabis in any form, even if no compensation was involved. Such crimes are punishable as follows:

  • Under 30 grams without compensation = Misdemeanor: Up to $500 fine and up to 30 days’ jail time
  • Under 1,000 pounds with compensation = Felony: Fine of $25,000 and up to 3 years’ incarceration
  • Prior drug conviction = Fine between $25,000 up to maximum proceeds from the drug sales and 3 years’ incarceration
  • Selling between 2 to 10 pounds = Fine of $5,000 and 1-year incarceration
  • Subsequent offense or sell to minor = Double penalties for the crime, plus fines up to maximum drug sale proceeds
  • Over 1,000 pounds = Felony: Fine of $100,000 and up to 10 years’ incarceration
  • Subsequent offense or sell to minor = Double penalties for that crime, plus fines to maximum drug proceeds amount
  • Within 250 feet of playground or 1,000 feet of school = Prison time of 2 to 4 years
  • Adults over 21 distributing to minor = Felony: Double penalties for the crime
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Hashish & Concentrates

In the State of Pennsylvania, the penalties for trafficking and selling concentrates or hash are the same as those for cannabis. See above for penalty details.

Growing and Manufacturing Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania lawmakers have made it a felony to manufacture or grow cannabis in this state. This is true even if the cultivator has no intentions of distributing or selling it.

According to Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines, the charge of possession with intent to deliver can lead to a conviction even if the crime involves under 10 cannabis plants. This crime is also a felony.

A conviction of growing without the intent to sell could result in a fine of $15,000 and up to 5 years’ incarceration

Hashish & Concentrates

It is a felony crime to manufacture concentrates and hash in Pennsylvania. These felonies are punishable as follows:

  • First conviction = Up to $15,000 fine and/or up to 5 years’ incarceration
  • Subsequent conviction = Up to $30,000 fine and/or up to 10 years’ incarceration

Pennsylvania lawmakers define any equipment or devices used to create or manufacture concentrates or hash as drug paraphernalia. Related crimes are misdemeanors, and are punishable as follows:

  • Simple possession = Up to $2,500 fine and/or up to 1-year incarceration
  • Selling or manufacturing = Up to $2,500 fine and/or up to 1-year incarceration
  • Sell to minor = Up to $5,000 fine and/or up to 2 years’ incarceration
  • Advertising sale of = Up to $2,500 fine and/or up to 1-year incarceration

Pennsylvania Hemp Law

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This state enacted a hemp law in 2016. House Bill 967 allows registered colleges, universities and agencies to market, cultivate and/or grow industrial hemp for the purposes of research. Hemp is described as a variety of the cannabis sativa plant species with no more than 1% THC content.

Medical Marijuana

Even those participating in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program are not allowed to legally grow cannabis in this state. See marijuana growing and manufacturing penalty details above.

Using Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Until the Pennsylvania Department of Health fully implements the state’s Medical Marijuana Program, it’s illegal to use cannabis in this state. See Possessing Marijuana in Pennsylvania section for penalty details.

To use cannabis, some sort of drug paraphernalia is required. However, possession of drug paraphernalia is punishable as follows in the State of Pennsylvania:

  • Sells or possession = Misdemeanor: Up to $2,500 fine and up to 1-year incarceration
  • Delivering to minor over 3 years younger = Misdemeanor: Up to $5,000 fine and up to 2 years’ incarceration

Medical Marijuana

Using Marijuana
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Pennsylvania is in the process of implementing the state’s Medical Marijuana Program under Act 16. Patients participating in the program will soon be allowed to obtain cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. They must have a recommendation from a physician certifying that they suffer from one or more of the following debilitating, chronic conditions:

  • Autism
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Intractable Seizures
  • Neuropathies
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Damage to spinal cord nervous tissue with intractable spasticity
  • Severe intractable or chronic pain of neuropathic origin
  • Severe intractable or chronic pain untreatable by opiate therapy of therapeutic intervention
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Under Act 16, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana patients cannot legally access the plant form of cannabis. They will, however, have access to the following types of marijuana:

  • Oils
  • Pills
  • Liquids
  • Tinctures
  • Ointments, creams, gels and other topical forms
  • Form medically approved for use in nebulizers and vaporizers (other than plant form)

These medical cannabis patients will be allowed to possess no more than a 30-day supply of the above marijuana products at any given time. They must obtain these products from a state-licensed dispensary (coming soon).

Safe Harbor

Pennsylvania has put a Safe Harbor program in place for minors under the age of 18 in need of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Spouses, caregivers, guardians, and parents of these minors must submit a Safe Harbor Letter to become approved program caregivers. Until medical cannabis dispensaries are open in this state, these guardians may obtain products in another state or country for administering to minors.

Click here for more information on the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program.

Breaking the Marijuana Laws in Pennsylvania

Every first-time drug offenders in Pennsylvania has the chance to receive probation instead of jail time.

Breaking Marijuana Laws – Image powered by Phillynorml.org

Anyone convicted of a drug offense in Pennsylvania shall have their driver’s license suspended by the courts upon conviction.

Marijuana legislation can be complicated, but Jenny Bloom is always up for the task. Although not a lawyer, her experience as a reporter and PR specialist helps her understand legalese – especially when it relates to growing marijuana. A passionate supporter of legalization and home... [read more]


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