Pennsylvania has a comprehensive and heavily-regulated medical marijuana program that, as of May 2022, had more than 700,000 registered patients. With more than 170 active registered dispensaries across the state, medical marijuana is increasingly available to those who qualify for it based on having been diagnosed with one of the 23 medical conditions recognized by state law. Unlike in nearby states such as New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, however, marijuana has not generally been decriminalized in Pennsylvania, and so medical marijuana is currently the only “legal” form of marijuana available to Pennsylvania residents.
Restrictions on the Use of Medical Marijuana
Pennsylvania law restricts the form in which medical marijuana can be dispensed to authorized patients. In particular, the law states that medical marijuana can only be dispensed in the following forms:
- topical forms (such as gels, creams, or ointments)
- a “form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization”
Pennsylvania also prohibits smoking or making “edibles” out of medical marijuana, though it does allow medical marijuana to be incorporated “into edible form” solely “to aid ingestion of the medical marijuana by the patient.”
Don't Sell or Give Away Your Medical Marijuana
It's against the law in Pennsylvania for an authorized patient to provide medical marijuana to someone who is not authorized by law to receive it. A conviction under this provision is a second degree misdemeanor that can result in a fine of up to $5000 and a sentence of two years in prison. If convicted as a repeat offender, the fine increases to up to $10,000, and the possible prison term is up to five years.
Possession and Distribution of Marijuana Remain Crimes in Pennsylvania
Aside from its medical marijuana program, Pennsylvania continues to prohibit the “recreational” possession, use, and distribution of marijuana. Penalties for possessing or giving away 30 grams or less include a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. If you sell anything less than 1000 pounds of marijuana, you can face a felony conviction, a fine of between $5000 and $25,000, and 1-3 years in prison. That said, Philadelphia has made some levels of possession a civil rather than a criminal defense, and Pennsylvania's current governor has indicated his support for legalizing marijuana.
What to Do if You Are Charged with Providing Medical Marijuana to Someone Else
If you've been charged because you've shared your medical marijuana with someone who is not authorized to have it, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team have years of experience helping Pennsylvanians charged with all levels of marijuana and other drug offenses. They understand the law, how the criminal process works, and how to negotiate your case with prosecutors. If you're facing criminal charges over medical marijuana, don't try to defend yourself – call Joseph D. Lento today at 888.535.3686, or use the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team's online contact form to set up a confidential consultation.