State by state, marijuana is being legalized across the country. In the state of Pennsylvania, the use of medical marijuana was legalized in April 2016 for patients diagnosed with a long list of qualifying conditions. There are specific rules that apply to this use, including getting a prescription from a specially certified physician and purchasing it from an authorized dispensary. For those not qualified, possession of any amount of marijuana, in any form, has the potential of leading to an arrest. In the city of Philadelphia, this is not the case – the city decriminalized possessing small amounts – though marijuana is always illegal on a federal basis.
There are several different offenses that you can be charged with if found in possession of marijuana. They are:
Simple possession is generally the charge if you are found in possession of an amount that is viewed as not being for distribution. It is a misdemeanor and can lead to a penalty of up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or some combination of the two. Repeat offenders face stiffer fines and penalties.
By contrast, being in possession of a marijuana edible would more likely lead to a charge of possession of a small amount of marijuana. That charge is generally applied when you are found with 30 grams or less. Though it is unlikely that you would be charged, there is always the possibility that you could be: the consequences would be up to 30 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, or some combination of the two.
What’s most important for you to know is that if you’re charged with simple possession and convicted of that crime, it will be viewed as a negative in the eyes of a potential employer or college. By contrast, a conviction of possession of a small amount of marijuana is largely disregarded, especially if you live in a state where marijuana possession has been largely decriminalized.
If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession and you need information on your rights or how we might be able to get your charges reduced, contact our office today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.