Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws You Definitely Need to Know!

Estimated read time 3 min read

Cannabis, another name for marijuana, is a plant that contains psychoactive substances that can affect a user’s mood, perception, and thought process. Although it is prohibited by federal law in the United States, some states, like Pennsylvania, have allowed its medical usage. Here are some important facts about Pennsylvania’s marijuana regulations.

Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

  • In 2016, Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana through the enactment of the Medical Marijuana Act.
  • The act permits individuals with one of the 23 qualifying conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, PTSD, and autism, to obtain certification from a registered physician and purchase marijuana products from licensed dispensaries.
  • It establishes the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, overseeing program implementation, regulation, and making recommendations for future law changes.
  • Only non-smokable forms of marijuana, like oils, pills, tinctures, topicals, and vaporizers, are allowed. Smoking or cultivating marijuana remains illegal in Pennsylvania, even for medical purposes.
  • The act imposes a 5% tax on marijuana growers and processors gross receipts and requires a $50 annual fee for patients and caregivers participating in the program.

Recreational Marijuana in Pennsylvania

  • Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Pennsylvania, attracting criminal penalties for possession, cultivation, distribution, and consumption.
  • Possession of up to 30 grams constitutes a misdemeanor with a potential 30-day jail term and a $500 fine. Possession of over 30 grams is a felony with up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
  • Cultivation of any amount is a felony carrying up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
    Distribution of up to 30 grams without remuneration is a misdemeanor with a potential 30-day jail term and a $500 fine. Over 30 grams or for profit constitutes a felony with up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
  • Public consumption of marijuana is a summary offense, punishable by a $25 fine.
    Driving under marijuana influence is a misdemeanor with up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a 12-month license suspension.
  • Some Pennsylvania cities and counties, like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and York, have decriminalized or reduced penalties for possession and consumption. In these areas, possession of up to 30 grams is a civil offense with a $25 fine, and public consumption is a civil offense with a $100 fine.

Future Prospects of Marijuana Legalization in Pennsylvania

  • Multiple attempts to legalize recreational marijuana have occurred in Pennsylvania, yet none have succeeded to date.
  • In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman expressed support after a statewide listening tour revealed majority public favor.
  • In 2020, Wolf proposed legalization as part of his COVID-19 relief plan, emphasizing revenue generation, job creation, and addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
  • Republican-controlled legislature has consistently opposed or blocked bills for recreational marijuana legalization, citing concerns about public health, safety, and morality.
  • Therefore, the outlook for recreational marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania remains uncertain and controversial, contingent on the political will and public opinion of the state s lawmakers and citizens.


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