Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program

Since the approval of the Pennsylvania marijuana laws on April 6th, 2016, and their subsequent implementation on February 15th, 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health enforces and manages the Medical Marijuana Program currently being applied at a state-wide level.  With its legalization bill, state-level criminal penalties were removed for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana for any resident with a signed physician recommendation stating that their partaking in MMJ can “mitigate” their debilitating medical condition. 

The PA application process walks patients through an easy step-by-step process of how to get a state-issued medical marijuana ID card. You can find more details about the process itself through their online registration portal.  In order to have their application approved, PA medical marijuana state law requires all recommended patients to be registered in the MMP’s database. Upon a successful application, the new patient will be given a Pennsylvania MMJ identification card.

Program Approval Date

April 2016

Patient ID Card Validity

1 year

Application Fee

$50

Certification Renewal

Annually*

* The MMP-issued Identification Card expiry date may vary. The doctor’s recommendation, along with your medical marijuana purchasing rights, are only valid for 1 year. Following that, we recommend you book a re-evaluation with our licensed doctors. 

pennsylvania marijuana laws

Being a Responsible MMJ Patient in PA

While having a medical card provides you with a great deal of empowerment over your health and wellbeing, great power must always come with great responsibility. Pennsylvania imposes specific marijuana laws related to its state-wide regulated use. And as a patient dealing with marijuana law in your day-to-day life, you should be aware of what you can and cannot do with your PA Marijuana Patient ID card:

  • Your patient status grants you access to a 30-day supply of marijuana, a unique quantity that is set by your recommending doctor when you start your treatment. Legally speaking, there is no reason for you to possess any marijuana beyond your explicitly set limit.

  • The only authorized locations for marijuana-related purchases are state-approved dispensaries. Personal sales are prohibited by the court of law and you should NOT engage in any way, shape, or form.

  • Your patient status does NOT give you the right to grow cannabis plants on your own property in Pennsylvania. Any and all medical cannabis you intend to use needs to be acquired legally from a licensed dispensary. 

  • If your treatment includes hashish-based products OR any other type of marijuana concentrate, know that the regulations remain the same. The state of PA treats hash and concentrates just as it treats marijuana – as a Schedule I Drug. 

  • Marijuana paraphernalia (such as bongs, tobacco blunts, rolling paper) is NOT strictly necessary for any type of medical marijuana. Therefore you have no legal excuse for possessing such an item, or,  to be using it in order to create your own medication.

Taking all of these considerations into mind, we have listed the five main types of marijuana penalties you could be accountable for in the state of PA. These laws apply to marijuana use state-round, so whether you are a patient living in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, there is no need to fret about regional differences. 

Possession

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

All possession offenses revolve around the Pennsylvania marijuana possession laws 30g cut-off point:

  • If you are found in possession of 30 grams (or less) of marijuana, you will be convicted for a misdemeanor that is punishable with 30 days in jail, as well as a $500 fine.
  • If you are found in possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, you will be convicted for a misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of one year, as well as a $5000 fine.
  • However, first possession convictions are eligible for release on the condition that the offender is on probation for the duration of a year, rather than serving jail time. Subsequent convictions of the same nature can result in a doubled legal penalty.
Possession
Quantity Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
<30g Misdemeanor 30 days $500
>30g Misdemeanor 1 year $5000
Special Considerations

First offenders may be eligible for conditional release on probation.

Second offenders may have their penalties doubled.

Distribution/Intent to Sell

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

Pennsylvania’s weed charges for distribution and/or the intent to sell vary drastically from quantity to quantity:

 

  • Similarly to possession, distribution of 30 grams or less of cannabis can net you a misdemeanor that is punishable with 30 days of jail time, alongside the $500 fine.
  • Selling anywhere between 2 and 10 pounds of cannabis is also considered a misdemeanor, but with a harsher punishment. It carries with it an obligatory sentence of one-year minimum jail time, along with a $5000 fine. 
  • From then on, things get increasingly worse. For distribution of anywhere between 10 pounds and under 1000 pounds, you will receive a penalty of 3 years jail time, with a tripled fine of $15,000. 
  • The sale of more than 1000 pounds of cannabis is considered a felony, reaching the maximum penalty of 10 years jail time, as well as a $100,000 fine.
  • For all of the above-mentioned crimes, penalties can be doubled if the culprit is found to be on their second drug offense. This is also valid if the person being sold to was a minor.
  • Moreover, court authorities are in their right to increase the fines beyond the listed maximum, with the intent of erasing the proceeds of the crime.

 

Distribution / Intent to Sell
Quantity Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
<30g Misdemeanor 30 days $500
2lbs 10 lbs Felony 1 year $5000
10 lbs <1000 lbs Felony 3 years $15,000
>1000lbs Felony 10 years $100,000
Special Considerations
Two to four years jail time for distributing within 1000 feet of a school, OR within 250 feet of a recreational playground. 
Doubled penalties for distributing to a minor OR for being a second offender.
Court authorities may increase the maximum fine to eradicate all profits made from the cannabis sale. 

Cultivation

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

Pennsylvania marijuana cultivation laws state the following for any potential offenders: 

 

  • Due to the above-listed possession limits, cultivating even one marijuana plant can result in your conviction to a state felony. The resulting penalty is anywhere between 36 months to 5 years in prison, with an additional legal fine of $15,000.

 

Cultivation

Quantity 

Penalty

Jail Time

Legal Fine

Any number of plants 

Felony

2.5 5 years

$15,000

Hashish & Concentrates

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

According to Pennsylvania drug laws, hashish and marijuana concentrates are considered a Schedule I Drug. Therefore, legal punishments match the nature of the regulation:

 

  • Being found in possession of fewer than 8 grams of hashish is treated as a misdemeanor that is punishable with a period of 30 days in prison, and/or a legal fine of up to $500. 
  • Being found in possession of more than 8 grams of hashish is treated as a misdemeanor that is punishable with a period of 6 to 12 months in prison, and/or a legal fine of up to $5000. 
  • For the manufacturing of hashish, you can be charged with a felony that is punishable with up to 5 years in prison, and/or a legal fine of up to $15,000. 
  • In the case of subsequent offenders, the felony charge remains in place, but the punishment is doubled. A sentence of up to 10 years in prison, and/or a legal fine of up to $30,000.
  • Devices used in the manufacturing process of hashish are considered drug paraphernalia. Simple possession of any such device will be treated as a misdemeanor that is punishable with up to 1 year in prison, and/or a legal fine of up to $2,500. 
  • Distribution or manufacturing of any such paraphernalia will be treated as a misdemeanor that is punishable with up to 1 year in prison, and/or a legal fine of up to $2,500. Promoting the distribution of any such device or equipment is treated identically in the eyes of the law, incurring the same legal consequences.
  • Distribution of hashish paraphernalia to a minor results in a second-degree misdemeanour that is punishable with up to 2 years in prison, and/or a legal fine of up to $5,000.

 

Hash and Concentrates
Quantity/Offense Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
Possession
<8g Misdemeanor 30 days $500
>8g Misdemeanor 6 12 months $5000
Manufacturing 
First offense Felony 5 years $15,000
Second offense Felony 10 years $30,000
Possession hash paraphernalia Misdemeanor 1 year $2500
Distribution hash paraphernalia Misdemeanor 1 year $2500
Distribution to minor Misdemeanor 2 years $5000

Paraphernalia

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

For all intents and purposes, Pennsylvania’s drug paraphernalia laws are clear-cut. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia in PA is punished in the same manner as a selling scenario, and if a minor is involved, the charges are doubled:

 

  • Selling or being found in possession of marijuana paraphernalia in PA is considered a punishable misdemeanor. Convictions can result in up to one year of jail time, as well as a maximum fine of $2500
  • If the distributor is found giving paraphernalia to a minor who is three (or more) years younger than them, then they are able to be convicted for a second-degree misdemeanor. Convictions will result in up to 2 years of jail time, added to a maximum fine of $5000. 

 

Paraphernalia
Offense Penalty Jail Time Legal Fine
Possession / Sale Misdemeanor 6 months 1 year $2500
Distribution to a minor 3 years younger than the offender Misdemeanor 2 years $5000

FAQ

Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

Questions about PA Laws and Regulations

While the penalties for each medical marijuana law are highly important to take note of, we know that state regulations do not always cover the niche cases.

Below you can find a list of potential FAQs that you might have regarding the current state of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania:

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in PA?

Yes. The state’s legislation on medical marijuana was initially approved in April of 2016, and subsequently implemented in February 2018. As such, any certified PA patient is able to purchase products such as CBD oil, tinctures, and edibles from a local, licensed dispensary. 

Can I use my PA medical marijuana card in other states?

Yes and no. Pennsylvania does not have reciprocity with other states. Thus, out-of-state med cards are not recognized in PA and holders cannot use them to buy or possess medical marijuana.

On the other hand, medical marijuana patients in PA may use their medical marijuana ID cards in states that have reciprocity. For example:

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada (recreational weed is legal)
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington DC (recreational weed is legal)

To clarify, different states have different reciprocity programs. So, due diligence is important before visiting a state and using your MMJ card.

Does my insurance or Medicare cover medical marijuana?

No. The FDA doesn’t approve medical marijuana. Thus, Medicare or insurance does not cover medical marijuana.

Can I travel with my marijuana to another state?

No. Crossing state lines with medical marijuana is a serious offense.

Where can I smoke or use my medical marijuana in PA?

Patients should only use medical marijuana within the privacy of their homes. Smoking marijuana in public spaces or the workplace will not protect a patient from legal consequences.

Is recreational marijuana legal in PA?

No. Recreational marijuana has yet to be legalized in Pennsylvania.

Couldn’t find what you were looking for?