Society’s attitudes toward marijuana may have changed in recent years, but the law has not. Being charged with buying marijuana, possessing it, growing it or selling it has serious consequences, even though Pennsylvania treats marijuana as a less dangerous drug than most others.
If you are facing marijuana charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced marijuana attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Marijuana and Simple Possession in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania statute, it is a third-degree misdemeanor to possess small amounts of marijuana or hashish for personal use, or to deliver small amounts of these drugs to someone else as long as money doesn’t change hands. This is a misdemeanor punishable by as many as 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. First offenses are typically resolved with probation, and mandatory minimum sentences only apply to offenders with substantial felony records. Possession of a larger amount of marijuana, between 30 grams and one pound, is a more serious misdemeanor and carries penalties that include a maximum of a year in jail for a first offense or three years for a subsequent offense. Simple possession is also a federal crime, though federal charges for simple marijuana possession are rare.
Marijuana Purchase, Growing and Distribution in Pennsylvania
Buying marijuana is also illegal, as is growing it, distributing it or possessing it with intent to distribute. Intentionally or knowingly buying any controlled substance from an unauthorized seller is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of three years. Growing marijuana, distributing it or possessing it with intent is a felony carrying stiff penalties and mandatory minimum sentences. For anything between two and 10 pounds or 10 and 21 plants, the minimum penalty is a year in jail for a first offense and two years for subsequent offenses. For between 10 and 50 pounds or 21 and 51 plants, the minimum is three years for a first offense and four years for subsequent offenses. Fifty or more pounds, or more than 50 plants, carries a sentence of five years. Distribution of marijuana to a minor carries a minimum sentence of one year. Another two years are tacked on if a defendant intended to promote habitual drug use by a minor, intended to involve the minor in drug trafficking, or distributed the drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, on a school bus, or within 500 feet of a school bus stop. The maximum penalty for growing, distribution or possession of between two and 1,000 pounds with intent is five years in Pennsylvania. The maximum is 10 years for amounts larger than 1,000 pounds. But growing large amounts of marijuana can also bring charges from the federal government, which imposes stiff mandatory minimum sentences for major trafficking operations.
Marijuana Paraphernalia in Pennsylvania
Possession, use or delivery of drug paraphernalia is also a crime. It is a misdemeanor to use or possess drug paraphernalia for the purpose of growing, manufacturing, packaging, concealing or delivering a controlled substance. It is also a misdemeanor to distribute drug paraphernalia or possess or manufacture it with the intent to distribute it. Almost anything connected with marijuana can qualify as paraphernalia, including otherwise legal items such as rolling papers, lighters and zip-lock bags. Paraphernalia offenses are punishable by a maximum of one year unless the person receiving the paraphernalia is younger than 18 and the person distributing it is at least three years older, in which case the stiffest possible sentence is two years. Paraphernalia offenses can often be resolved with probation, depending on a defendant’s drug record and criminal history.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with a marijuana crime, call Brian Manchester, an experienced marijuana defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.