Marijuana Arrests in Pennsylvania
In 2014, Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana possession and punishes offenders with a civil fine instead of criminal charges for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Additionally, the new Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner dropped numerous cases and announced that his office would not pursue simple possession cases for marijuana if police brought cases to the D.A.
While prosecutors in Philadelphia may be significantly easing up on marijuana possession cases, the same cannot be said for the rest of the Keystone State. Instead, police and prosecutors outside of Philly are still cracking down on marijuana cases and pursuing criminal charges, and millennials are most affected by this draconian enforcement.
Consider the following statistics reported by the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System (UCRS) for 2017:
- Police arrested 27,133 individuals on suspicion of marijuana possession
- 80 percent of arrests involved possession only, not selling or growing marijuana
- 20,392 adults faced charges for low-level marijuana possession
- 2,269 juveniles faced charges for low-level marijuana possession
- About 55 adults were arrested each day of the year for marijuana possession
- Arrests for marijuana possession equaled the number of arrests for possession of all other types of drugs combined
- About $46 million in tax dollars went to the prosecution of marijuana charges in Pennsylvania
- 71 percent of low-level possession arrestees were under the age of 30
- 43 percent of arrestees were between age 21 and 29, classified as millennials
Many people consider marijuana possession to be a minor offense, especially with the increased legalization or decriminalization of cannabis possession in many states. Pennsylvania is even seeing the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries, however, recreational possession and use are just as illegal in most of the state as it always has been.
Even though people may think marijuana possession is not a big deal, it is important to remember that it is still a crime. A marijuana possession conviction can result in probation and costly fines. Probation can include many fees, as well as mandatory drug testing. If you happen to fail a drug test, you can be ordered to mandatory drug treatment or even get sent to jail.
Perhaps even more concerning is that you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record. This can mean the following and more:
- Disqualification from federal financial aid
- Disqualification from public benefits
- Challenges finding a or keeping a job
- Challenges finding a residence to rent
- Difficulty getting accepted to a higher educational program
- Difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses
Because the large majority of people charged with marijuana possession are young adults, the rest of their future can be affected by a conviction.
Contact a Skilled West Chester, PA Criminal Defense Attorney for Assistance
If you are arrested for suspected marijuana possession, you should never take it lightly. Prosecutors in much of Philadelphia will seek harsh consequences and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Please call the Skinner Law Firm at 610-436-1410 or contact us online to learn about how we can help you.