Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Pennsylvania Drug Law Topic of the Week: Possession of Marijuana

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When it comes to possession of drugs, Pennsylvania does not mess around. There are a series of very strict laws and strict sanctions that are applicable if an individual is charged with possession of a drug. One of the most common kind of possession charges that we see is for possession of marijuana, so in today's blog, your Pennsylvania Criminal Law Attorneys discuss this crime.

In Pennsylvania, there are very strict laws relating to possession of marijuana. Possessing certain amounts of marijuana in PA can even require a mandatory minimum jail sentence. In Pittsburgh, there are thousands of marijuana arrests each year. These arrests carry charges ranging from possessing small amounts of marijuana, to sale and distribution of larger amounts. Depending on the charge, a Pennsylvania Criminal Court Judge may impose a jail sentence, a fine, or both. There may also be a different sentence for a first time offender as opposed to a person who has a previous drug offence.

The two main types of possession in Pennsylvania are possession for personal use, and possession with intent to deliver. Possession for personal use is a misdemeanor, while possession with intent to deliver is a felony. Possession for personal use can either be charged as possession of a controlled substance, or possession of a small amount of marijuana. Possession of a small amount of marijuana is charged to any person who is carrying less than 30 grams of marijuana. This equates to just a little over an ounce of marijuana. The maximum penalty for this charge in PA is 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Possession of a controlled substance carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Possession of a controlled substance can be charged for any illegal drug, including marijuana, or even for prescription drugs that are illegally obtained.

Possession with intent to deliver is a much more confusing area of the law in Pennsylvania. For one, there is no weight limit that puts a possession charge in this zone. The controlling factor here is supposed to be intent. However, possession of larger amounts of marijuana tends to lead to this type of charge. For example, a person who has 10 ounces of marijuana that is meant for personal use may be charged with intent to deliver based on the quantity. However, a person who possesses only 1 or 2 grams at the time of arrest may also be charged with intent to deliver if there is other evidence that points towards the intent to sell the drug.

If you are facing PA drug possession charges, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney. To set up a consultation to speak with one of our attorneys, contact us today.

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