When will recreational marijuana be legal in Pennsylvania?

| Apr 14, 2020 | Drug Charges |

There has been local and federal progress to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania, but thousands of marijuana arrests continue take place each year. Could new legislation change this cycle?

A new bill is now under consideration to legalize recreational marijuana. However, a news report states that the Republican majority in the senate could decrease the chance that the proposed bill passes. So, it’s wise to keep current laws in mind if you don’t want to end up with a criminal charge.

Pro-cannabis efforts

The legalization of recreational marijuana isn’t a reality in Pennsylvania yet, but there has been some recent progress:

  • Medical marijuana: The legalization of medical marijuana took place in 2016. But those who had medical marijuana cards couldn’t obtain medical marijuana at dispensaries until 2018.
  • Voter feedback: Last year, the governor carried out listening tour, with stops in each county, to get opinions on marijuana laws from Pennsylvania voters. According to the state’s website, majority of attendees supported the legalization of adult-use, recreational marijuana.
  • New bill: A few months ago, a local member of the House presented a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. If the state legislature passed this bill, then it would provide both a clean slate for non-violent offenders and create money for state programs.
  • Local statutes: Headway at the city level has also began. Several city councils have approved statutes that permit having small amounts of recreational marijuana.

Even with this progress, there are still risks. For example, those within the medical marijuana cards can face a DUI charge based on the smell of marijuana alone. And arrests continue to take place in cities where fines are supposed to replace arrests of those who possess 30 grams or less of marijuana. Police don’t always follow the city statutes because they are voluntary.

All in all, having, selling or growing recreational cannabis is currently unlawful. But if you are facing a drug-related offense, a criminal defense attorney can help guide you through the legal process.