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Legalization of Medical Cannabis in Pennsylvania

Posted On: April 3, 2015 by Marc Neff

As a general principle, medical marijuana is the same substance as standard marijuana. Though there is legislation underway seeking to legalize the medical use of cannabis, under Pennsylvania law, it remains illegal to use, grow, sell, or possess it.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf expressed a willingness to sign a humanitarian Medical Cannabis Bill if and when it reaches his desk. This coupled with Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, set to be reviewed in a joint session in the spring of 2015, suggests that laws allowing patients who have a recommendation from their doctor to purchase and use medical cannabis from centers licensed by a to-be-created State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing might be within reach.

The entire process would be regulated by licensing: medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensers. There are also some prohibitions in this legislation such as:
No individual may smoke medical cannabis
No individual may undertake any task under the influence if it would constitute negligence or professional malpractice
No individual may operate or drive a motor vehicle, aircraft, motor boat, or heavy machinery with more than 10 nanograms of THC in their system

At present, medical marijuana users face all of the same penalties as recreational users. Recent decriminalization legislation in Philadelphia means that possession of small amounts of marijuana (less than an ounce) is now punishable by a $25 fine. Under state law, however, an individual arrested for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana can still be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail and fined up to $500.

If you have been charged with a drug crime like possession of marijuana, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately so that you fully understand the situation and are in a position to protect your legal rights. An experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney is familiar with local laws and system. Schedule a confidential consultation contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff by phone at (215) 563-9800 or by email at

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