West Chester

Marijuana Lawyer

The attitudes around marijuana for both medical and recreational use are changing, but in Pennsylvania, it is still an illegal drug. In Chester County, PA and in West Chester in particular, marijuana charges are quite common and convictions can seriously complicate your life. From possible jail time to a license suspension, and a permanent drug conviction on your record, do not take marijuana charges lightly. Speak to a marijuana lawyer right away.

If you have been charged with a marijuana crime in West Chester, Phoenixville, Kennett Square, Oxford, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County, it is imperative to hire a defense lawyer experienced in this area with a history of success. Michael J. Skinner is a knowledgeable and highly skilled drug lawyer with an impressive track record in similar cases. Let us review your case and fight to have your charges completely dismissed or find a way to mitigate your punishment. Call the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 for a free consultation.

Marijuana Charges in Pennsylvania

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, pot, ganja, bud, chronic, grass and reefer, is one of the most frequently abused drugs in Pennsylvania.

Under federal and Pennsylvania state law, marijuana is illegal. A conviction for many marijuana charges can result in harsh punishments in both criminal sentencing and in consequences on your daily life.

Some of the most common marijuana charges include:

Marijuana Charges and Penalties in Pennsylvania

If you are found with marijuana on your person or under your control, whether in your vehicle, home, or office, then you may face criminal charges. This is even more likely if large quantities of marijuana, plants, or products like cannabis concentrates are under your control.

  • Possession of Marijuana 30 g or less is an ungraded misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • Possession of Marijuana more than 30 g is also a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Distribution of 30 g or less for no remuneration (i.e. monetary exchange) is treated the same as simple possession, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • Sale, Delivery or Distribution (PWID) of 1,000 lbs. or less of marijuana is a felony punishable by one to three years in Pennsylvania State Prison, with a statutory maximum of five years. Additional penalties include fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 ($15,000) (if the person arrested has a prior drug conviction then minimum mandatory prison sentence of 3 years and maximum fine).
  • Sale, Delivery or Distribution (PWID) of more than 1,000 lbs. of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Sale, Delivery or Distribution (PWID) of marijuana within 1,000 ft of a school, or within 250 ft. of a recreational playground, is punishable by two to four years in prison.
  • Sale, Delivery or Distribution (PWID) of marijuana to a minor when the seller is over the age of 21 is a felony with double the possible penalties for the amount of marijuana sold.
  • Possession or sale of paraphernalia is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. If the sale was to a minor, the possible penalties are doubled to two years in jail and fines up to $5,000.

Any second or subsequent marijuana offense conviction increases the possible penalties.

Additional Consequences of a Marijuana Conviction

In addition to the criminal penalties, being convicted of a marijuana offense will result in various other negative ramifications to your life. First, PennDOT will almost assuredly suspend your driver’s license for anywhere between six months to two years depending on your prior record.

A marijuana conviction will also result in a permanent mark against your criminal record. The stigma attached to a drug conviction, even for marijuana, will make finding a job difficult, result in the loss or inability to get certain professional licenses, complicate custody or visitation agreements, and lead to an embarrassing stain on your record that you’ll have to explain repeatedly.

Medical Marijuana in PA

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program does provide access to medical marijuana for patients with specific medical conditions. Currently, only patients suffering from one of the following medical conditions can participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Cancer, including remission therapy.
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies.
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
  • HIV / AIDS.
  • Huntington’s disease.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Intractable seizures.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain.
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • Terminal illness.
  • Tourette syndrome.

Using authorized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania without fear of criminal charges requires you to first register for the program through the Medical Marijuana Registry and having a physician certify that you suffer from one of the listed conditions before obtaining a medical marijuana ID card. This card will allow you to secure medical marijuana from approved dispensaries in Pennsylvania.

When individuals do not secure the proper medical marijuana authorization or remain in good standing, they are just as susceptible to arrest and criminal charges as anyone else. If you or a loved one are charged with a crime in relation to using medical marijuana, contact Skinner Law Firm immediately.

Defending Against Marijuana Charges

There are always steps you can take to improve your situation if you’re charged with a marijuana crime. There may be defense options available or programs you’re eligible for. A marijuana attorney can help identify ways to help This includes possible defense strategies or other mitigating factors that may reduce your marijuana charge to a lesser offense or even ways to have it dismissed.

Examples of defenses or mitigating factors to marijuana charges can include:

  • The officers illegally searched your home, person or car;
  • The arresting officer failed to read your Miranda Warnings;
  • The prosecution has insufficient evidence to charge you with a marijuana offense;
  • You were induced to engage in conduct you otherwise would not have committed by a law enforcement officer, which lead to your marijuana charge (entrapment);
  • The officers have mistaken your identity;
  • You have an alibi;
  • You had no intent to commit the marijuana offense (if intent is an element of the charge); and/or
  • Other circumstances that violated your constitutional rights that resulted in your marijuana charge.

Depending on if any of the above scenarios applies to your case, your attorney will be able to file a motion to dismiss your marijuana charge or a motion to suppress any illegally obtained evidence on your behalf.

Marijuana Diversion Programs in Chester County

For many first-time marijuana offenders, the court may grant probation without verdict. The state provides for conditional release, alternative sentencing programs or diversion options like ARD for first-time offenders. Pennsylvania law also allows offenders to choose probation rather than being sentenced at trial.

If the offender completes the requirements of probation, the marijuana charge will be dismissed, and his or her criminal record will not reflect the marijuana offense.

Marijuana Resources in Chester County

  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – This national organization is dedicated to changing the public’s opinion about marijuana to achieve the repeal of marijuana laws so the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties.
  • Marijuana Policy Project – MPP’s goal is to increase the public support of non-punitive and non-coercive marijuana punishments, and to change state laws regarding the use of marijuana.
  • Drug Policy Alliance – This national organization promotes non-violent alternatives to the drug war that are based on science and health and human rights.

Contact a West Chester Marijuana Lawyer

If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana offense anywhere in Chester County, Pennsylvania, contact the Skinner Law Firm for a free consultation. We will review what lead to you being charged, assess whether you are eligible for drug court or a diversion program, and pursue every opportunity to have the charge reduced or dismissed.

A marijuana charge should not limit the rest of your life, and with attorney Michael J. Skinner it doesn’t have to. Call (610) 436-1410 or complete our online form today.