Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties - 1/01/2017

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Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties - 1/01/2017

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law

The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act (Act. 16, 2016), was signed on April 17, 2016 , created the state's medical marijuana program. The program will ultimately allow patients to obtain medical cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. The program initially includes 17 qualifying conditions.

Prior to the opening of dispensaries, pediatric patients and the parent/legal guardian caregivers can apply for safe harbor exemptions for possessing and using medical cannabis prior to the opening of dispensaries. The state Department of Health (DOH) has provided guidelines for patients seeking safe harbor. Physician must take a training course before being eligible to recommend medical cannabis under Act 16.

The state DOH has issued temporary regulations for dispensaries and has offered the public the opportunity to comment on them. The program will allow for 25 "grower/processor" licenses and 50 dispensary licenses. Each dispensary license may have three different locations, meaning there is a potential maximum of up to 150 dispensaries locations throughout state.

Penalty Details

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.

See
  • Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes

Possession
Possession of 30 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Possession of more than 30 grams is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one/or year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

First possession conviction is eligible for conditional release, wherein the offender gets probation for up to a year instead of jail time.

A second or subsequent conviction can lead to a doubled penalty.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat § 780-113
  • 35 P.S. §780-113(a)(16)

Sale or Distribution
Distribution of 30g or less of marijuana without compensation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Sale of less than 1,000 pounds is a felony punishable by up to 3 years in jail and a $25,000 fine. If the offender has a prior drug conviction, then the sentence is 3 years and the fine will be $25,000. The court is authorized to increase the fines beyond the maximum to exhaust the proceeds of the crime.

Selling 2-10 pounds of marijuana carries a sentence of 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. These penalties are doubled if the conviction is a second or subsequent drug offense or if the sale is to a minor. The court is authorized to increase the fines beyond the maximum to exhaust the proceeds of the crime.

Sale of more than 1,000 pounds is a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. These penalties are doubled if the conviction is a second or subsequent drug offense or if the sale is to a minor. The court is authorized to increase the fines beyond the maximum to exhaust the proceeds of the crime.

Delivery of marijuana within 1,000 ft of a school or within 250 ft. of recreational playground is punishable by 2-4 years in prison.

Distribution to a minor by one over the age of 21 is a felony and brings doubled penalties upon conviction.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat.§ 780-113
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat.§ 1104

Cultivation
Growing marijuana, even with no intention of selling it, is a felony and is punishable up to five years in prison and $15,000 in fines. The Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines state that possession with intent to deliver less than 10 plants is felony.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. § 780-113
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1104

Hash & Concentrates
Hashish and THC concentrates are Schedule I drugs.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-102
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-104(i)(iii)(16)

Possessing less than 8 grams of hashish or concentrates is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 30 days. Possessing more than 8 grams of hashish or concentrates is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $5,000 or a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(b)
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(g)

Manufacturing hashish or concentrates is a felony punishable by a fine no greater than $15,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 5 years. Subsequent convictions for manufacturing hashish are punishable by a fine no greater than $30,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 10 years.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(a)(30)
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(f)(2)
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-115(a)

The offenses and penalties for selling or trafficking hashish or concentrates are the same as the trafficking penalties for marijuana. For more information see Pennsylvania's marijuana laws section of this website.

Any device or equipment used to manufacture or create hashish or concentrates is considered drug paraphernalia. Possession of any such device or equipment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year. Manufacturing or selling any such device or equipment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year. If any such device or equipment was sold to a minor, the offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by a fine no greater than $5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 2 years. Advertising the sale of any such device or equipment is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-102(b)
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(a)(31)-(34)
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. §780-113(i)

Paraphernalia
Possessing or selling paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable with up to 1 year in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500. Delivering paraphernalia to a minor who is 3 or more years his junior is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by not more than 2 years and a fine not exceeding $5,000.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. § 780-113
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1104

Sentencing
Sentencing for marijuana crimes in PA varies by the weight of the plant matter seized.

In PA, all first time drug convictions have the possibility for probation for a first offense.

A second or subsequent drug related conviction makes the offender eligible for double penalties.

See
  • 35 PA. Cons. Stat. § 780-113
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 106
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1101
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1103
  • 18 PA. Cons. Stat. § 1104

Miscellaneous
The department shall suspend the operating privilege of any person upon receiving a certified record of the person's conviction of any offense involving the possession, sale, delivery, offering for sale, holding fr sale or giving away of any controlled substance under the laws of the US, this Commonwealth or any other state. (1st offense six months, 2nd one year, 3+ two years).

See
  • PA. Cons. Stat. § 1532(c)

CONDITIONAL RELEASE

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.

DRUGGED DRIVING

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance is available here. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available here.

HEMP

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML's Industrial Use section.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML's Medical Marijuana section.
Source: NORML & Americans for Safe Access