In Pennsylvania it is still illegal to possess or sell marijuana. Unlike most crimes, arrests can be made by federal or local authorities. Most frequently, federal authorities get involved in drug trafficking allegations. But this doesn’t mean just taking drugs across state lines: trafficking includes growing, packaging, transporting, and distributing marijuana. Penalties vary depending on the amount of the drug that is in one’s possession. Federal law imposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking.
Pennsylvania laws against possession, including possession with intent to deliver, impose lesser penalties. Again, the penalty is dependent on the amount in one’s possession. Pennsylvania also makes it illegal to possess drug-related paraphernalia, which could be a bong, a water pipe, rolling papers, or a scale.
Philadelphia has made possession of small amounts a civil offense, subject to fines. But marijuana is still illegal, so possession of more than 30 grams—or dealing or trafficking the substance no matter how much is involved—is still a criminal offense.
If you’ve been arrested for possession, you need an attorney who can fight the search and seizure of the drugs and get the charges thrown out. Or an experienced defense attorney can get you into a drug diversion program in lieu of a jail sentence.