December 21, 2023 4 min read

In Pennsylvania, the landscape of cannabis laws has seen significant shifts, paralleling the broader changes in the United States. From initial strict prohibitions to a growing acceptance of medical cannabis, the journey of Pennsylvania's cannabis lawsis intriguing. 

Join us as we delve into the dynamic realm of cannabis regulations, uncovering details about possession restrictions, cultivation guidelines, penalties, and the intricate pathways for accessing and distributing cannabis within the state. 

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania Cannabis Laws
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Where to Buy Cannabis Online

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for medical use in Pennsylvania for those with a state-issued medical card.
  • Recreational users can possess up toa 90 day supply according to doctor’s prescription. 
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 

Is Cannabis Legal in Pennsylvania?

Cannabis flower grown outdoors for sale in Oregon legal dispensaries

In Pennsylvania, medical marijuana has been legal since April 17, 2016, following the signing of Senate Bill 3. Recreational marijuana, however, remains illegal statewide, although certain cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have decriminalized possession of small amounts. 

The Medical Marijuana Act permits registered patients to use cannabis for qualifying medical conditions, with approval from a registered physician. Minors with serious medical conditions can access medical marijuana through registered caregivers.

Patients, holding valid medical cards, are allowed a 90-day supply recommended by pharmacists at licensed dispensaries. Smoking marijuana is illegal, but consumption via vaporization is permitted. Exceeding prescribed amounts or possessing cannabis without registration can result in criminal penalties under state law.

Regulations for Medical Use

In Pennsylvania, medical cannabis is legal for those with a medical card. There are still laws and limits to follow, including that medical card holders may:

  • Use medical cannabis as prescribed by registered physicians. 
  • Use cannabis if under the age of 21 when recommended by a physician. Minors must establish a registered caregivers to buy  and distribute cannabis.
  • Buy and possess a 90-day supply of cannabis based on their doctor’s prescription. 
  • Travel with cannabis, within specified limits, in a vehicle as long as it is in a closed containers that is in an area that’s out of reach to the passengers, such as in the trunk. 
  • Consume cannabis in a private residence or approved medical facility. 

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis in Pennsylvania

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism
  • Cancer, including remission therapy
  • Chronic Hepatitis C
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neuropathies
  • Opioid use disorder for which conventional medical interventions are ineffective
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome


In Pennsylvania, medical cannabis is legal for registered patients with qualifying conditions. However, there are strict regulations:

  • Only registered patients with specific medical conditions can use medical cannabis.
  • Minors can use it through caregivers but cannot access it directly.
  • Home cultivation of cannabis is prohibited.
  • Transporting cannabis across state lines is considered drug trafficking, even to cannabis-friendly states.
  • Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal.
  • Consumption is restricted to private homes where minors aren't present.
  • Smoking cannabis in areas where smoking is banned (like bars, restaurants, public buildings) is prohibited.
  • Consumption is forbidden on federal property and within specific distances of schools or playgrounds.

Pennsylvania Cannabis Laws

Recreational Cannabis:

Illegal. SB473 seeks to establish the Cannabis Regulatory Control Board for future legalization.

Medical Cannabis:

  • Section 405: Patients can access a 90-day supply of medical marijuana.
  • Section 502B: Caregivers need background checks; restrictions on drug-related convictions.
  • Section 609: Permission for relocation of medical marijuana organizations.
  • Section 614: Restrictions for individuals with certain convictions.
  • Section 701(c.1): Integration of electronic tracking systems.
  • Sections 702, 703, 704: Regulations for growers/processors, storage, transportation, and laboratory testing.
  • Section 801(b): Patient consultation requirements for dispensaries.
  • Section 802: Dispensary facility requirements.
  • Section 902: Allocation of funds from taxes and fees.
  • Section 1107: Criminal penalties for the diversion of medical marijuana.
  • Section 1307: Disclosure of medical marijuana information prohibited.
  • Section 2002: Approval and regulations for clinical registrants.

Pennsylvania remains illegal for recreational cannabis, while medical use is permitted with stringent regulations and ongoing legislative discussions for potential expansions.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Pennsylvania


  • 30 grams or less of flower / 8 grams or less of hashish: Misdemeanor, 30 days jail and/or $500 fine.
  • More than 30 grams of flower / more than 8 grams of hashish:Misdemeanor, 6 – 12 months incarceration, $5,000 fine.
  • Subsequent Conviction: Doubled penalties, $25,000 fine, 18 – 36 months incarceration.
  • First possession:Eligible for conditional release (probation up to a year) instead of jail time.

Sale or Distribution

  • Distribution of 30g or less without compensation:Misdemeanor, up to 30 days jail, up to $500 fine.
  • More than 30 grams sale: Felony, 2.5 – 5 years jail, $15,000 fine.
  • Distribution near school/recreational playground: 2-4 years prison.


  • Growing marijuana: Felony, 2.5 to 5 years prison, $15,000 fines.
  • Possession with intent to deliver <10 plants: Felony.

Hash & Concentrates

  • Possession <8g hashish:Misdemeanor, $500 fine, 30 days jail.
  • More than 8g hashish: Misdemeanor, $5,000 fine, 6 – 12 months jail.
  • Manufacturing hashish:Felony, $15,000 fine, 5 years prison. 
  • Subsequent: $30,000, 10 years.


  • Possessing or selling paraphernalia: Misdemeanor, 6 – 12 months jail, $2,500 fine.
  • Delivering paraphernalia to a minor (3+ years younger): Second-degree misdemeanor, 2 years, $5,000 fine.

Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. 

Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.

Vida Optima Cloud9 Delta-9-THC

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Cannabis Encyclopedia

Hybrid Vape Cartridge Explained: FAQs Answered - Vida Optima™
Hybrid Vape Cartridge Explained: FAQs Answered

February 19, 2024 5 min read

Hybrid vape carts meet you in the middle of lift and lounge. Here's what to consider:
Read More
Do CBD Gummies Expire? Shelf Life Explained - Vida Optima™
Do CBD Gummies Expire? Shelf Life Explained

February 19, 2024 5 min read

Here's how you'll know when your CBD gummies have taken a turn for the worst:
Read More
Kief Side Effects: Risks & Health Implications - Vida Optima™
Kief Side Effects: Risks & Health Implications

February 19, 2024 6 min read

Kief is an ultra potent and fragrant addition to your joint...but are there any risks? Here's what you should know:
Read More