is weed legal in pennsylvania

Is Weed Legal In Pennsylvania: Full Guide

Table of Contents

Pennsylvania is a state full of surprises and delights, where history and modernity blend together in perfect harmony. For the history buffs, there’s Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Gettysburg National Military Park, which preserves the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle. If you’re more of a nature lover, there’s the majestic Pocono Mountains, where you can ski, hike, and enjoy stunning views of the countryside. And let’s not forget about Hershey’s Chocolate World, the sweetest place on earth! As for weed laws in the Keystone Stone? Well, it’s complicated. Read on to learn more.

Is Weed Legal in Pennsylvania? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: No
  • Medical THC: Yes
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: Yes

Medical Weed Laws

Medical marijuana became legal in Pennsylvania in April 2016. Patients with a qualifying medical condition and a valid medical marijuana ID card can purchase medical marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary. The minimum age for obtaining a medical card is 18 years old or younger if a parent or legal guardian is the patient’s caregiver. 

Only patients with one of the following medical conditions can obtain a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card: 

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Autism.
  • 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.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Glaucoma.
  • HIV / AIDS.
  • Huntington’s disease.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Intractable seizures.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Neuropathies.
  • 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.

The amount of medical marijuana that a patient can possess is limited to a 30-day supply, as determined by their physician.

Recreational Weed Laws

Trends show that many states with medical marijuana programs usually move towards adult-use recreational legalization. However, recreational weed’s regulatory environment tends to be far more complex. Although many states maintain their medical programs to support patients, the same rules do not apply to the general public once recreational marijuana is legalized. Possession limits may vary, as well as the consequences for using marijuana outside of the state-mandated guidelines. See below for more information about the current legal status and recreational legalization efforts.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, marijuana possession is no longer a crime as of 2021. Small amounts of marijuana possession are now considered a summary charge by the state, which is the same as receiving a traffic ticket rather than a criminal offense. Large-scale marijuana possession, sale, distribution, and possession with the intent to sell or distribute are still punishable by penalties and incarceration. See below for more information about penalties for illegal acts.

Cannabinoid Variants

Marijuana-derived cannabinoids are legal in Pennsylvania for medical cannabis patients. Yet, several newer hemp-derived cannabinoids are much more accessible to a larger audience. States have the right to establish their own laws as they see fit. Here is where Pennsylvania stands. 

Is CBD legal in Pennsylvania?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments as well as online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products. 

The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution. CBD is legal in Pennsylvania. 

Is Delta-8 legal in Pennsylvania?

Delta-8 became legal in Pennsylvania when House Bill 967 was approved in July 2016. This bill makes all hemp derivatives, and compounds legal as long as the hemp plants or finished goods have a Delta-9 THC content of 0.3% or less. 

However, in April of 2022, Pennsylvania state officials announced plans to ban hemp-derived Delta-8 and its products, citing lack of regulatory oversight as the primary reason. It is important to note that these plans and legislation have not yet been passed, but it is essential to stay informed on the current laws and regulations regarding Delta-8 and other hemp and marijuana products.

Is Delta-10 legal in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, Delta-10 THC derived from hemp is not specifically prohibited for production and sale. Industrial hemp and any plant parts with a Delta-9 THC content of less than 0.3% are excluded from the controlled substances list, including hemp-derived THCs like Delta-8 and Delta-10. This means that, like Delta-8, Delta-10 with less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC is legal in Pennsylvania.

Are THC-O and other THC variants legal in Pennsylvania? 

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Are HHC and HHC-O legal in Pennsylvania?

HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol) and HHC-O (Hexahydrocannabinol acetate) are new cannabinoids in the market that are gaining popularity as hemp derivatives in some states across the US, including Pennsylvania. These compounds are derived from hemp, which is legal at the federal level due to the 2018 Farm Bill. While some states may have specific bans on these compounds, they are generally legal in states where hemp and its derivatives are legal.

Cultivation Laws

In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana patients cannot grow marijuana for personal use. Only licensed growers can provide medical marijuana to patients. Growing marijuana for recreational use is illegal in the state as well.

To become a medical marijuana grower in Pennsylvania, one must submit an application to the state Department of Health, including information on the proposed growing operation and a non-refundable $10,000. However, this application process is currently closed, and no small businesses will be allowed to grow medical marijuana in the state. As for micro growers, certain regulations apply, including submitting an application and a fee of $250 to the department, a limit of 150 simultaneously grown plants, growing cannabis indoors, and not using the cannabis grown. All of the cannabis must be sold to a processor or dispensary or destroyed by the micro grower.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in Pennsylvania

To obtain a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania, a patient must first register with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition by a certified physician. Once approved, the patient will receive a medical marijuana ID card, which will allow them to purchase medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary.

To obtain medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, there are four primary steps to follow:

  • Sign up for the Medical Marijuana Registry program.
  • Receive certification from a licensed physician confirming your qualifying medical condition.
  • Obtain a medical marijuana ID card by paying the necessary fees.

Once you’ve received your card, you may purchase medical marijuana from one of the authorized dispensaries in Pennsylvania.

Where to Buy Weed in Pennsylvania

If you’re looking for weed in Pennsylvania, here are the details on the most popular channels. 


Patients can access medical marijuana from one of over 100 licensed dispensaries throughout the state. You must show your government ID and a medical marijuana card to shop. 


Delivery of marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania, except for some licensed dispensaries that offer delivery services to medical marijuana patients. Each dispensary that chooses to offer these services may have varying rules and conditions.

Direct to Consumer

Unfortunately, direct-to-consumer cannabis delivery is not currently an option in Pennsylvania, and it may not become legal until the laws are updated to reflect the desires of their constituents.

Black Market

Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.

Efforts to Legalize Recreational Weed in Pennsylvania

Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania have been ongoing, with former Governor Tom Wolf advocating for it in his 2021 budget proposal. However, there has been no successful legislation passed as of yet. Democrat Josh Shapiro’s inauguration as the state’s newest governor in 2023 brings momentum for potential efforts to legalize the adult use of cannabis and advance similar industries such as hemp and CBD. 

Recent bipartisan efforts have been proposed to expand Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market, which could eliminate the need for renewing medical marijuana cards and qualifying conditions, making it easier for patients to receive a prescription.

While Pennsylvania state Republicans have said cannabis legalization is not a top priority, with efforts from the new administration and state legislature and pressure from neighboring states, Pennsylvania could be a “state to watch” for the legalization of recreational adult use cannabis in 2023. 

General FAQ

Where can you smoke weed in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, smoking marijuana in public places is illegal. On the other hand, private property owners have the right to allow smoking on their property. However, this only applies to those who hold a valid medical marijuana card.

Can you smoke weed in public in Pennsylvania? 

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to smoke weed in public.

When was medical weed legalized in Pennsylvania?

Medical marijuana was legalized in Pennsylvania on April 17, 2016, when Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3, also known as the Medical Marijuana Act, into law. However, it took until February 15, 2018, for the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary to open.

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

In Pennsylvania, the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed vary depending on the amount of marijuana involved. Possession of 30 grams or less of flower or 8 grams or less of hashish is considered a misdemeanor and can result in 30 days of jail time and/or a $500 fine. Possession of more than 30 grams of flower or more than 8 grams of hashish is also a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 6-12 months of incarceration and a $5,000 fine. A second or subsequent conviction can lead to a maximum penalty of a $25,000 fine and 18-36 months of incarceration.

The distribution of 30 grams or less of marijuana without compensation is a misdemeanor and can result in up to 30 days of jail time and a fine of up to $500. The sale of more than 30 grams is a felony and carries a penalty of 2.5-5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine for a first offense. Delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or within 250 feet of a recreational playground is punishable by 2-4 years in prison. Distribution to a minor by someone over the age of 21 is also a felony and brings doubled penalties upon conviction.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

Sale or distribution to a minor or after a previous drug conviction brings doubled penalties. This means that the penalties for selling or distributing marijuana to a minor or after a previous drug conviction can be twice as severe as the penalties for selling or distributing marijuana under normal circumstances.

What is possession with the intent to sell?

Possession with intent to sell or distribute is when a person has more of a substance than they can reasonably consume. Possession with the intent to sell is a felony offense in Pennsylvania and carries significant penalties.

When is possession a crime?

Possession of marijuana is a crime in Pennsylvania unless it is for medical use and within legal limits. 

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