Marijuana Laws in Pennsylvania

Please note: ILGM is NOT a legal adviser. Information contained in this website is intended as general introductory information only. The information contained on this website is not legal advice. It should not be construed as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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.

The program is implemented by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Medical cannabis patients can legally access marijuana to treat state-approved chronic, debilitating medical conditions.

Medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania cannot smoke cannabis. Instead, they may vaporize the plant form or consume derivatives, such as cannabis-infused oils, pills, liquids, tinctures, and topical ointments. Medical cannabis dispensaries provide access to these products.

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Possessing Marijuana in Pennsylvania

It is a crime in Pennsylvania to possess any amount of cannabis. 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

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
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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

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 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 the 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

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
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Pennsylvania Hemp Law

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 cannabis Sativa plant species with no more than 1% THC content.

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.

Cannabis use often requires some sort of drug paraphernalia. However, possession of drug paraphernalia is punishable as follows in the State of Pennsylvania:

  • Sales 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
Using Marijuana
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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.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program (under Act 16) permits patients to obtain cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. They require physician recommendation that certifies 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 opiates
Medical Marijuana – Image by

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana patients cannot smoke cannabis. They will, however, have access to the following types of marijuana:

  • Oils
  • Pills
  • Liquids
  • Tinctures
  • Ointments, creams, gels, and other topical forms
  • Plant form medically approved for use in nebulizers and vaporizers

Medical cannabis patients can possess no more than a 30-day supply of the above marijuana products at any given time. Products must come from a state-licensed dispensary.

Pennsylvania has a Safe Harbor program for minors 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.

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

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Breaking Marijuana Laws in Pennsylvania

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

Pennsylvania drug convictions will lead to driver’s license suspension.

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Jenny Bloom

Editor-in-Chief at I Love Growing Marijuana

Jenny is ILGM's unstoppable force when it comes to quality control for all the content on the blog. In the meantime, she manages to write many of the articles herself as well. She's not a lawyer but is well-read on all the latest marijuana legislations, which she always keeps up to date!... [Read full bio]


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