Pennsylvania Marijuana Limitations

What Happens if I am Under 21 and Caught Carrying or Using Cannabis?

The possession and use of recreational cannabis are completely illegal, but registered patients can use medical cannabis as recommended by a registered pharmacist, irrespective of their ages. Persons under the age of 21 who are found with marijuana will face a juvenile drug charge in a Juvenile Court in the state where the case will be investigated. The type and quantity of cannabis a minor is found with will determine the penalties they will face. Although no law explicitly defines the marijuana penalties, the penalties may include the payment of fines, house arrest, community service, and counseling sessions, substance abuse programs, and probation. The aim for juvenile drug charges is rehabilitation, but the charges could remain on a minor's permanent record for a long time; hence, affecting them in the future.

In addition, depending on the severity of the offense and whether the underage person has prior incidents on their record, they may face the same charges as an adult, and the charges will become a part of their permanent record. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) reports that approximately 1 in 10 people who use cannabis will become addicted. However, the addiction rate increases to 1 in 6 if the consumer begins consuming it before age 18. Hence, minors are discouraged from consuming cannabis unless recommended by a health practitioner. In such cases, depending on the length of the minor's ID cards, they can legally have up to a 90-day supply of medical cannabis.

Where is it Legal to Smoke Weed in Pennsylvania?

Smoking weed in Pennsylvania is illegal, even if it is for medical purposes. Although marijuana flower is legal in the state, it can only be consumed in a private residence by vaporization. However, private vehicle owners cannot smoke weed in their private vehicles. If an authorized weed user must transport weed within the state, they must not smoke it in their vehicle or any type of transportation. Some limitations on transporting weed are:

  • It must be within your 90-day recommended limit.
  • It must be kept out of reach and in a closed, sealed container. It is best kept in the car's trunk or the very back of the vehicle if there is no trunk.
  • You must not consume it while transporting it, whether in a public or private vehicle.

Persons not registered with the state medical marijuana program will be prosecuted if they are caught with marijuana. The possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor that will attract 30 days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500. Possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Can I Leave Pennsylvania with Cannabis?

No. Leaving Pennsylvania with cannabis will be considered drug trafficking even if cannabis is legal in the state you are traveling to. According to federal law, transporting cannabis across state lines is illegal regardless of the means of transportation. Under the Controlled Substances Act, which used to be the Federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, cannabis is categorized as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs have high abuse tendencies and are not accepted for medical use. The possession and consumption of such drugs are, therefore, illegal at the federal level. State lines fall under federal jurisdiction, and because cannabis remains an illegal drug under federal law, transporting cannabis across states will attract criminal penalties. The gravity of the offense primarily determines these criminal penalties. The gravity of the offense is determined by the amount of cannabis being transported, whether it is a first-time offense, and the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the law. A first-time offense of transporting below 50 kilograms of cannabis could result in a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Will Cannabis Affect My Driving Record in Pennsylvania?

Yes, driving under the influence of cannabis is punishable by a fine, jail term, suspension of the driver's license, or revocation of license. Typically, driving under the influence of cannabis is a misdemeanor, but it may be considered a felony if it involves an accident or loss of life. Asides from reflecting on an offender's driver's license history, it will also show in their criminal background, credit records, and insurance history. The Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for issuing driver's licenses and can also revoke or suspend such for DUIs that are cannabis-related. Even if you have a legal recommendation for medical cannabis under the state medical marijuana program, you can still get a marijuana DUI in Pennsylvania.

Can I Get a DUI if I Drive While I am High?

When a person consumes cannabis, THC is absorbed into the blood and circulated to every tissue in the body, primarily the brain where it can alter neural chemistry, causing the user to get high. It is a crime to operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Pennsylvania has strict laws which prohibit residents from driving with any amount at or over one nanogram per milliliter of THC or its metabolites in their blood, as stated by the April 30, 2011 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Hence, a driver will still face a cannabis-related DUI charge if caught driving while a cannabis metabolite is present in their body system, even if there is no impairment. Typically, a cannabis metabolite (THC) can remain in a person's system for up to a few weeks after intake.

In a suspected cannabis-related DUI case, a person will have to undergo a presumptive test to determine whether their blood sample contains a controlled substance or a metabolite of a controlled substance. It may involve screening the blood specimen using a rapid, inexpensive procedure. Drug testing is a two-step process; hence, a second test will also be conducted to ascertain the minimum threshold for THC or its metabolites. Any amount at or above one nanogram per milliliter can be introduced in a proceeding for a marijuana DUI. For offenses requiring impairment, the prosecutor must show actual impairment.

The penalties for DUI related crimes are in three levels; including:

  • First offense - Misdemeanor

  • Fine of at least $1000, but not more than $5000

  • Imprisonment of between 72 consecutive hours and 6 months

  • License suspension of at least 18 months

  • Alcohol highway safety school

  • Completion of 150 hours of community service

  • Attend a victim impact panel

  • Second offense - Misdemeanor

  • Fine of at least $1500, but not more than $5000

  • Imprisonment of between 90 days hours and 6 months

  • License suspension of at least 18 months

  • Completion of 150 hours of community service

  • Alcohol highway safety school

  • Attend a victim impact panel

  • Third and subsequent offense - 2nd-degree misdemeanor

  • Fine of at least $2500, but not more than $5000

  • Minimum of one year imprisonment

  • License suspension of at least 18 months

  • Completion of 150 hours of community service

  • Attend a victim impact panel

Note that resisting a blood chemical test to ascertain a cannabis-related DUI will result in your driver's license being automatically suspended from 1 year up to 18 months according to 08 DUI Legislation.

Can I Buy Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania?

Patients aged 21 and over registered under the Medical Marijuana Program can buy marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries across Pennsylvania. However, they must present their state medical marijuana ID cards for qualifying medical conditions and state-issued identification cards. Registered patients can buy up to 90 days' supply of medical marijuana. While medical marijuana is legal for use by minors, they can not buy it on their own. Medical marijuana for minors can only be purchased through their registered caregivers.

Where Can I Buy Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has over 100 dispensaries sited in different locations across the state. Registered patients and caregivers can purchase medical marijuana from any of these locations. A list of medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania with their products is provided on the Department of Health's website. Only dispensaries registered with the Department of Health and have obtained permits are allowed to engage in cannabis business activities in Pennsylvania.

How Much is Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania?

The price of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is not fixed, but it costs $200 on average. Also, an indoor pound is sold for at least $3,500 and as much as $4,160. The cost of a medical marijuana ID card is $50. However, patients who participate in assistance programs, such as Medicaid, PACE/PACENET, SNAP, CHIP, and WIC, may be eligible for fee reductions. An annual state card fee to be paid during renewal is $50.

How Much Cannabis Can I Legally Have?

Pennsylvania does not specify an exact amount that a registered patient can have. Section 405 of the 2016 Act 16 only states that a patient or caregiver may obtain up to 90 days supply of medical marijuana from a dispensary as recommended by a registered pharmacist.

Where is Weed Legal?

State Legal Status Medicinal Recreational
Alabama Criminalized No No
Alaska Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arizona Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arkansas Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Colorado Decriminalized Yes Yes
Connecticut Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Delaware Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
District of Columbia Decriminalized Yes Yes
Florida Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Georgia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Hawaii Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Idaho Decriminalized No No
Illinois Decriminalized Yes Yes
Indiana Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Iowa Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Kansas Decriminalized No No
Kentucky Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Louisiana Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Maine Decriminalized Yes Yes
Maryland Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Massachusetts Decriminalized Yes Yes
Michigan Decriminalized Yes Yes
Minnesota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Mississippi Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Missouri Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Montana Decriminalized Yes Yes
Nebraska Decriminalized No Yes
Nevada Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Hampshire Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Jersey Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Mexico Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New York Decriminalized Yes Yes
North Carolina Decriminalized No Yes
North Dakota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Ohio Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Oklahoma Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Oregon Decriminalized Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Rhode Island Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
South Carolina Decriminalized No No
South Dakota Decriminalized Yes Yes
Tennessee Decriminalized No No
Texas Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Utah Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Vermont Decriminalized Yes Yes
Virginia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil Yes
Washington Decriminalized Yes Yes
West Virginia Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Wisconsin Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Wyoming Decriminalized No No
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Pennsylvania Marijuana Limitations