Medical Marijuana


Know Your Rights

Medical marijuana is finally legal in Pennsylvania, but only when a patient qualifies under strict guidelines. Possession of marijuana for recreational purposes is still illegal in this state, and failure to comply with the medical marijuana laws can be considered “recreational” use, even when you intended to follow the law and use it for medical purposes. We are experienced criminal defense attorneys who understand Pennsylvania medical marijuana laws and can defend your case.

Medical Marijuana: Laws and Regulations

Under Pennsylvania drug possession laws, possession of marijuana for recreational “non-medical” use is still illegal and could subject you to criminal penalties and license loss for drug possession. However, those with a valid medical card for medical marijuana are allowed to possess up to what the physician certified of:

  • cannabis flower,
  • creams,
  • gels,
  • liquids,
  • oils,
  • ointments,
  • pills, or
  • tinctures.

The cannabis flower is the most recent addition to the approved list and was previously unavailable. However, it is important to note that smoking a cannabis flower is still illegal. If a person wishes to use cannabis flower medicinally, he or she must consume it by vaporization.

Limits on Purchasing Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted to sell up to a 30-day supply of the medicine to a patient. Records must be kept of each amount obtained. Patients can then “re-up” their 30 days supplies in the last 7 days of the amount they have, in order to get a refill.

These limits are strictly enforced. If you have more than the 30-day supply amount, the possession of that marijuana is illegal under Pennsylvania drug possession laws. Significant criminal penalties can be imposed as a result, even if you honestly were just using marijuana for medicinal purposes. Never try to go around the system to obtain more than you are permitted or prescribed.

Patients Who Qualify

Not every person is allowed to use medical marijuana. Only those with an ailment on the qualifying list are able to use medical marijuana, including:

  • Addiction Substitute Therapy – Opioid Reduction
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Autism
  • Cancer, Including Remission Therapy
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Dyskinetic and Spastic Movement Disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Intractable Seizures
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathies
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Terminal Illness

A person using medical marijuana without a proper prescription for one of the above-listed conditions could face criminal penalties, the same as someone who was simply using it recreationally.

Consumption of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana cannot be consumed just anywhere. Specific restrictions apply here as well, that you must follow.

Only homes and private residences are allowable locations for the consumption of medical cannabis. It does not matter how you take the medicine, this is the only place it is permitted without special permission.

Your place of employment may also permit it under Pennsylvania law. However, it is not common for jobs to approve their consumption on their property. Taking your legally prescribed medicine in the wrong place could subject you to criminal charges.

Possession Charges

If you fail to follow the medical marijuana laws or possess marijuana without a prescription, you could face the following penalties:

Possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana: A misdemeanor, which carries the possible penalties of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana: Can result in up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

This includes the cu

If you fail to follow the medical marijuana laws or possess marijuana without a prescription, you could face the following penalties:

  • Possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana: A misdemeanor, which carries the possible penalties of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

  • Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana: Can result in up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

This includes the cultivation (growing) of marijuana. Some states allow a person to grow a certain amount of marijuana, but Pennsylvania does not. You can be charged with Felony drug charges if you are caught growing marijuana even if you have a medical card. 

DUI with Medical Marijuana in your System

One of the most turbulent legal issues currently is whether using medical marijuana can be used as a basis for DUI Charges. Currently, the Courts have decided that you can be charged and convicted for a DUI with only metabolites of legally injected medical marijuana use in your system. The Shaw Law Group has multiple cases where we are challenging this premise. The Shaw Law Group is aware of and is following the pending cases in appellate courts poised to decide these issues. The Shaw Law Group is always up to date on the ever-changing law in this area to better protect you.

Defending Your Case

Various defenses are available to marijuana possession charges, including, but not limited to:

  • You hold a valid medical marijuana prescription card;

  • You only possess a 30-day supply or less;

  • Non-compliance with the statute was a mistake (not always a defense);

  • You have a qualifying medical condition; or

  • Your use or transportation of marijuana was legal.

Consult our Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you face charges related to medical marijuana, there are defenses that can be raised on your behalf. You have the right to challenge the prosecutor’s allegations and defend your constitutional rights. Never assume you are guilty, or that there is no point in fighting back. We are devoted to representing the people of  Central Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas. 

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We are advocates for our clients at every stage of a criminal defense matter, including preliminary hearings, detention hearings, suppression of evidence hearings, plea negotiations, jury trials, bench trials and appeals.

We are known for our straightforward, aggressive approach to defending clients against serious crimes charges and for our ability to effectively challenge the prosecution at every stage of a case. We draw on our expert resources and our legal knowledge to investigate and build the strongest strategic case that we can on your behalf. Our team of experienced attorneys knows the best defenses for each unique case, and we know how to challenge each part of the Commonwealth’s case at the preliminary hearing; through pre-trial motions, and at trial with a judge or a jury. We also have extensive experience in skillfully negotiating for better outcomes for our clients, and we have obtained the best results even in cases in which the Commonwealth has a great deal of evidence. If you or a loved one are under investigation or facing Homicide by Vehicle charges, you need the best defense attorneys in your corner. Call 814-762-0004 for a free strategy session with one of our lawyers today.

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