Report: Pennsylvania Among States With Worst Marijuana Laws

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: A woman walks with a sign supporting legalizing marijuana during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The convention officially began on Monday and has attracted thousands of protesters, members of the media and Democratic delegates to the City of Brotherly Love. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Ashley Adams

March 24, 2022

According to a new report from the Marijuana Policy Project, Pennsylvania has some of the worst marijuana laws in the country. Blacks are also three times more likely to be arrested for possession in the commonwealth.

When it comes to marijuana laws, Pennsylvania is one of 19 states with the worst in the country, according to a new report.

The Marijuana Policy Project recently released a report called “Behind the Times: The 19 States Where a Joint Can Still Land You in Jail.” According to the report, under current law, Pennsylvania imposes up to 30 days’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $500 for possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana (just over an ounce).

The report also said that Black Pennsylvanians are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in the state.

Recently, the state has seen record-high levels of public support for legalization of adult-use marijuana and municipalities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have already passed measures to decriminalize marijuana possession.

Legislators in the state House and state Senate have introduced three bills proposing the legalization of adult-use marijuana. All the bills still sit in committees.

The state Senate Law and Justice Committee, chaired by Sen. Mike Regan (R-Cumberland), has held hearings on the benefits of creating a regulated system for growing and selling recreational marijuana. 

“At the state level, we have not fully dealt with [decriminalization], and the federal government has not fully dealt with that,” state Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) said at a recent news conference. “Let’s be clear, in Pennsylvania, it is the government that sells the alcohol. We are selling this product, we are selling this substance that we know is more harmful than marijuana.”

Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman have both repeatedly voiced support for legalization. And the governor has promised to sign legislation that makes it to his desk. A 2020 study from the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition found that roughly 62% of Pennsylvania voters support legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, including 76% of progressive voters and 54% of conservative voters.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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