Understanding Pennsylvania’s Drug Schedules
Both Pennsylvania and the federal government classify drugs according to the Controlled Substances Act of 1971. Drugs are classified by a set of five “Schedules,” depending on whether the drug (at the time) had any medical use value and its potential for abuse and likelihood of addiction. Substances in Schedule I, including marijuana, were deemed to have no medical value.
Examples of drugs on each Schedule include:
- Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, Methaqualone
- Schedule II: Morphine, PCP, Cocaine
- Schedule III: Anabolic Steroids, Codeine, Hydrocodone, and some Barbiturates
- Schedule IV: Most Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax
- Schedule V: Over-the-counter cough medicines with Codeine
Marijuana is still considered a Schedule I federally controlled substance, though recreational and medical use of marijuana has been legalized in many states. Pennsylvania municipalities have moved to decriminalize minor possession of marijuana, and there is a statewide push to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In the meantime, depending on where you’re arrested, you can still face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for merely possessing a joint.
Pennsylvania Laws on Controlled Substances
Possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana typically varies from county to county, but possessing more than 30 grams carries a maximum state penalty of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
THC and Hashish Possession
THC concentrates and hashish are treated similarly to marijuana, though the limits are smaller. If you possess up to 8 grams, you can face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Anything above that limit, you’re looking at up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Felony Drug Possession
Possession of cocaine, PCP, isomers, or more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana can result in felony charges. If you’re charged with possession with intent to distribute, you can face up to 25 years in jail and $250,000 in fines.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
If you are caught with any drug paraphernalia in your possession, you can face up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The charge is usually made along with a drug possession charge. These penalties can rise if other factors are involved, such as prior convictions or the possession of a weapon or firearm when arrested.
Don’t Face Your Drug Charges Alone
Even if your drug charge seems small and “manageable,” you don’t want to go to court alone. If you attempt to plead guilty with profuse apologies, you can still get the maximum punishment. Don’t risk your future attempting to defend these charges on your own. You deserve an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney on your side who understands the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. For over 25 years I have been working with individuals across Philadelphia and New Jersey to protect their rights and fight their drug charges. If you’ve been arrested or charged with a drug crime, call or reach out to my office today to schedule a free case consultation.