Updated on June 1, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law
Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis law took effect in 2016. The bill removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by anyone possessing a signed recommendation from a physician stating that marijuana “may mitigate” his or her debilitating medical symptoms.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is tasked with establishing and administering the state’s medical marijuana program, which is in the process of being implemented. Practitioners may register with the department to begin participating in the program.
Pennsylvania requires all qualified patients with physician’s recommendations to register with the Department of Health. Upon registration, the patient will be issued a Pennsylvania medical marijuana identification card, which may be used to purchase medical marijuana from an authorized state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
Pennsylvania Marijuana Possession Penalties
- Possession of 30 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- Possession of more than 30 grams is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
- First possession conviction is eligible for conditional release, wherein the offender gets probation for up to a year instead of jail time.
- A second or subsequent conviction can lead to a doubled penalty.
Pennsylvania Marijuana Intent to Sell Penalties
- Distribution of 30 or fewer grams of marijuana for no remuneration is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Selling between two and 10 pounds of marijuana carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. The penalties are doubled if the conviction is a second or subsequent drug offense, or if the sale is to a minor. The court is authorized to increase the fines beyond the maximum to exhaust the proceeds of the crime.
- Sale of more than 1,000 pounds is a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. These penalties are doubled if the conviction is a second or subsequent drug offense, or if the sale is to a minor. The court is authorized to increase the fines beyond the maximum to exhaust the proceeds of the crime.
Pennsylvania Marijuana Cultivation Penalties
- Possession of 10 to 21 marijuana plants is a felony punishable by a mandatory one-year sentence and a $5,000 fine. The penalty may be doubled if the conviction is a second or subsequent offense.
- Possession of 22 to 51 marijuana plants is a felony and will be punished with a mandatory three-year sentence and a $15,000 fine. The penalty may be doubled if the conviction is a second or subsequent offense.
Pennsylvania Marijuana Paraphernalia Penalties
Possessing or selling paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500. Delivering paraphernalia to a minor who is three or more years younger than the distributor is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.