What is the current marijuana / cannabis decriminalization and legalization status in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, recreational marijuana, or cannabis, is still illegal, although several cities have passed ordinances decriminalizing marijuana.
Several cities have decriminalized marijuana, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Steelton, York, State College, Erie, Lancaster, Bethlehem and Upper Darby Township. Even so, arrests for marijuana are still high.
Decriminalization does not mean that marijuana is legal, it only means that the penalties are not as severe as previously. A person can still be arrested for a small amount of marijuana.
In addition, if a person has been convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses, they may apply for a pardon for a marijuana conviction in Pennsylvania.
Decriminalization of Marijuana
While recreational marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania, and there is no current state-wide ordinance to decriminalize marijuana, there is, however, a big push right now by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to legalize marijuana and expunge past marijuana-related criminal records.
In October 2019, state senators introduced Senate Bill 350, which would allow for several provisions including:
- Use of marijuana permitted by adults over the age of 21;
- Providing automatic expungement of previous criminal marijuana-related convictions, a dismissal of and pending charges and commutation of sentences;
- Allows for home delivery of cannabis from dispensaries to homes;
- Permits people to grow up to 10 plants for personal use in their homes.
This bill has not yet been brought to vote, and therefore, marijuana is still an illegal substance.
Penalties for a small amount of Marijuana in Pittsburgh
In Pittsburgh, small amounts of marijuana or hashish was decriminalized, beginning in 2016. This is not the same as marijuana being legal—a person can still be arrested for marijuana, and the smell of it is enough to prompt a DUI during a traffic stop.
As long as there is less than 30 grams of marijuana or less than eight grams of hash, the police may still issue a $25 fine and seize the drugs. If a person is found smoking marijuana, the fine could be $100. If a larger quantity of drugs is discovered, more severe penalties can occur.
Previously, the penalty for possession of a small amount of marijuana in Pennsylvania was 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
If you were charged with a small amount of marijuana in Pittsburgh, contact a Pittsburgh Marijuana Lawyer for a free legal consultation.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Pennsylvania?
Beginning in 2018, medical marijuana is legal in PA, with 163,000 people holding state-issued medical marijuana cards and 76 marijuana dispensaries, or state-permitted marijuana retailers.
It is illegal to be intoxicated by marijuana while driving, and many people who are legally allowed to use marijuana can be arrested for DUI of marijuana, even if they only inhaled a small amount.
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