What to Know About Pennsylvania's Marijuana Laws

Here we will go over what you should know about Pennsylvania's marijuana laws.

On April 17th, 2016, the medical use of marijuana was legalized in the state of Pennsylvania. However, recreational use remains prohibited.

Although medical use has been legalized, marijuana cardholders must still follow registration, purchase, and possession guidelines.

Keep reading to learn about Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws and what is legal or illegal when it comes to medical and recreational use.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich:

Ramifications of Illegal Possession

Marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I substance with a high potential for abuse. Like other Schedule I substances such as LSD, heroin, and methaqualone, illegally possessing marijuana can carry large fines, or jail time.

In some Pennsylvania cities, possession has been decriminalized, meaning criminal penalties have been abolished in those areas. Examples of decriminalized cities include Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Erie, Lancaster, and York.

Penalties for illegal possession in criminalized cities are as follows.

Under 30 grams - $500 fine or 30 days incarceration.

Over 30 grams - $5,000 fine or 6-12 months incarceration.

First-time offenders are treated differently from repeat offenders ,and penalties are more lenient. 

Purchase and Possession

Marijuana possession is legal for medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. These individuals may possess a 30-day supply, which is equivalent to one ounce per day.

Marijuana must be purchased from a licensed dispensary and should remain in its labeled packaging. 

Buying or selling marijuana to or from an unlicensed source is illegal.

If caught with over 30 grams of marijuana, you may face an “intent to sell” charge, which carries a maximum fine of $25,000 or up to 5 years imprisonment.

Additionally, Pennsylvania is one of many states that prohibit the cultivation of marijuana. 

Medical Dispensaries

Medical marijuana dispensaries are the only legal place a patient or caregiver can obtain marijuana.


You may not enter a dispensary without a medical card, and you must be 21 to make a purchase (a valid photo ID is required.)

At a dispensary, you can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana each day. Upon purchase your personal information will be uploaded to a database that tracks your purchase history.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

To obtain a medical marijuana card in PA, you must have a qualifying condition. 

Some qualifying conditions include:

  • Anxiety

  • Autism

  • Cancer

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Epilepsy

  • Glaucoma


  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Intractable seizures

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Neuropathies

  • Parkinsons

  • PTSD

  • Terminal Illness

If you have a qualifying condition, consult a medical marijuana doctor. Once approved, you must pay an application fee, registration fee, and register your card with the state.

Schedule an appointment with a doctor and apply online at Upon the retrieval of your card, you may legally purchase marijuana at the dispensary.

Staying Legal

To keep your marijuana card legal, you must follow registration renewal guidelines.

The state of Pennsylvania requires all medical marijuana patients to renew their cards annually. If your card expires, you will no longer be eligible to purchase marijuana from a dispensary.

When it comes time to renew your card, you must schedule a visit with your medical marijuana doctor and request that your prescription remains valid. These renewal visits may cost anywhere from $150-$500 depending on where you go. 

After receiving the doctor's approval, you must renew your card with the state of Pennsylvania. Renewal fees cost $50; however, payment assistance is available to those that fall below the income threshold.

Once you have paid all renewal fees, received doctor certification, and renewed your card with the state, a new medical card will be sent in the mail.

Non-THC Products

Although THC products such as cannabis flower and edibles are illegal for recreational use in Pennsylvania, you may still purchase non-THC items without a medical marijuana card.

Non-THC products offer similar medical benefits as medical marijuana without psychoactive properties. These products include but are not limited to CBD, Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10, CBG, and CBN.

You may purchase these products at some gas stations, smoke shops, pharmacies, big box stores, or online.

Non-THC products may come in the form of smokable flower, tinctures, gummies, edibles, drinks, and capsules. These non-psychoactive products serve as a good THC alternative to individuals looking for legal mental and physical pain relief.

There are currently no limits on how many non-THC products a person may possess; however, the purchaser must be 21 years of age to obtain such products.

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