Marijuana: Maximum Penalties

In Pennsylvania, if you are convicted of Possession with the Intent to Deliver (PWID) Marijuana, you could face a mandatory minimum. The mandatories are as follows:

  • 2 lbs. to < 10 lbs. or 10 to < 21 live plants: 1st conviction 1 year, subsequent – 2 years
  • 10 lbs. to < 50 lbs. or 21 to 51 live plants: 1st conviction 3 years, subsequent – 4 years
  • 50 lbs. or more or 51 live plants or more: 1st conviction 5 years subsequent – 5 years

The key to the sentencing issue above is that the defendant must be convicted of PWID. If you are not convicted of PWID, the mandatories do not apply and you are sentenced based on the sentencing guidelines. There are four basic ways to be convicted of PWID for any drug. First, selling the drugs. Second, conspiring with other to sell drugs. Third, possessing a quantity too great to reasonably be able to use the drugs just for yourself. Fourth, sharing the drugs in a social setting.

Also, there are exceptions to the mandatory rules where you can file a motion and argue that even though you possessed some of the drugs for delivery, you possessed some for personal use and therefore the mandatory should not apply.

***UPDATE*** Almost all of Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimums are no longer in place. As we posted in 2014, Alleyne has basically overruled all of the mandatory minimums in Pennsylvania from Marijuana to the school zone enhancement. While I think what I wrote above was correct at the time I wrote it, I think the more important thing to note is that the statutory maximum on Marijuana PWID cases is still 5 years flat, and a judge can still give you this sentence. While we have softened to weed societally as of late, you can still get a flat five. Hopefully your judge will be kind.

Author: Brian Zeiger
Brian Zeiger

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.