Pittsburgh drug charges attorney discusses marijuana laws
As more states begin to legalize or decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, it’s important to understand in Pennsylvania it is still illegal to possess even the smallest amount of marijuana, even with a valid out-of-state prescription for medical marijuana. Though the attitude toward marijuana is becoming more and more relaxed on a national scale, the aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws by Pennsylvania police remains. Here in Pennsylvania, possessing even small amounts of marijuana can warrant thirty days in jail, $500 in fines, and a driver’s license suspension. Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as pipes or a “baggy,” can carry up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If you have questions about drug charges related to marijuana possession, you should speak to an experienced Pittsburgh drug charges attorney like Gary Gerson. In Maryland, New York, and Ohio, those states have moved toward decriminalizing marijuana, as has the District of Columbia. Even Philadelphia has lessened the penalties for small amounts of marijuana. In these places, the social goal is that, eventually, there will be no jail time or criminal record for first-time possession offenders or that small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption will be completely legal so long as the person smoking is not doing so in public. In some instances, certain states treat first-time marijuana possession similar to a minor traffic violation, but this is not the case here in Pennsylvania, outside of Philly. I do receive questions from people about smoking marijuana in other states like Colorado where it is legal, then coming home to Pennsylvania. Remember, you may still face charges if you return to Pennsylvania and drive a motor vehicle even days after you last used marijuana. The reason is because marijuana “metabolites” may stay in your system for days after use; they are detectable in the standard blood tests that are used in many counties to detect DUI. In PA, if such metabolites are detected, the test can be used to support a DUI charge even if the suspect was not impaired when he or she drove. Someone who is arrested driving under the influence of marijuana that they used in another state days or weeks ago cannot use that notion as a defense, which is kind of ridiculous if you really think about it, because where and when someone consumes marijuana is irrelevant if the chemical traces are found in a person’s bloodstream by a properly administered blood test, as per the law. If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, or were pulled over for DUI and marijuana was found in your system, call Pittsburgh drug charges lawyer Gary Gerson today for a free consultation at 412-219-6875.