Is Weed Legal in Pennsylvania? PA Cannabis Laws (2023 Update)

Illustration of Pittsburgh Cityscape
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: February 27, 2023

This article explains the legal status of marijuana in Pennsylvania. We break down the recreational and medical marijuana laws, elaborate on penalties for possession, and give forecasts on the future of cannabis legalization in Pennsylvania. You’ll also learn about a federally legal alternative to marijuana — and where to find it.

  • Marijuana is legal for medical use in Pennsylvania. You can apply for a medical marijuana card if you have a qualifying medical condition.
  • For recreational cannabis users, even small amounts of cannabis may result in imprisonment and fines.
  • Home cultivation of marijuana is banned in Pennsylvania, even for medical marijuana patients.
  • You can’t smoke marijuana within 1,000 ft of a school or within 250 ft of a recreational playground.
  • Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in Pennsylvania. You can find it locally and online.
  • You can also buy delta 8 THC from hemp in Pennsylvania because the state law aligns with the 2018 Farm Bill.

Is Weed Legal in Pennsylvania?

It depends on how you want to use marijuana. So far, only medical patients are allowed to purchase and possess high-THC cannabis based on marijuana statistics reports.

Related: Where is Weed Legal Map

Here’s a quick rundown of marijuana laws in Pennsylvania.

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Pennsylvania?

No. Marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania for recreational use. If you aren’t a qualified medical marijuana patient, you can face a misdemeanor charge.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes. Pennsylvania has a medical marijuana program for qualifying patients. It was created after Governor Wolf signed The Medical Marijuana Act into law. In 2018, the first medical marijuana dispensaries were launched.

Qualified patients may carry a 30-day supply of marijuana, although in a non-smokable form, such as oils, pills, tinctures, infused liquids, and topicals.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana may lead to a 30-day imprisonment and a $500 fine.

Any amount larger than 30 grams is subject to harsher penalties, including up to 1 year behind bars and a $5,000 fine.

Sale of distribution of 30 grams or less can land you in jail for 30 days, while trying to sell more than 30 grams involves a longer prison sentence, up to 5 years.

Your penalty will double if you’re trying to sell or gift marijuana to a minor.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Pennsylvania?

While state law treats marijuana possession as a crime, various local cities have passed regulations that “decriminalize” the possession of small amounts of marijuana. For example, in Philadelphia, possessing 30 grams or less is considered a civil violation for which you will receive a $25 fine. The same penalty applies to smoking marijuana in a public place.

What’s the Future of Cannabis Legalization in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is controlled by the Republican party in both chambers, so it may take some time until its residents will be able to enjoy legal marijuana.

There’s a new legalization bill pending in the Senate. The legislation was debated by lawmakers for the first time. Once passed, the bill will be introduced to the state House, giving Pennsylvania residents a clearer view of the legislature’s direction.

Delta 8 THC: A Better and Legal Alternative to Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Delta 8 tincture and hemp buds on a wooden board

Marijuana is only available for medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania. However, even if you’re a patient, you can’t legally smoke or vape cannabis because these formats are outlawed by the state.

That’s why hemp-derived delta 8 THC is making waves in the cannabis community. Not only is it milder and less stimulating than delta 9, but it’s also (theoretically) legal at the federal level.

But the legality of delta 8 isn’t the only reason why so many people are turning to it.

Here’s why some people can’t enjoy the psychoactive effects of delta 9 THC.

Cons of Delta 9 THC From Marijuana

Low and moderate doses of delta 9 THC are relaxing, stress-relieving, and can enhance your focus.

Larger doses will get you high, altering your thinking patterns and perception of time and causing euphoria, giggles, munchies, sharpened senses, and sleepiness.

Most people can enjoy the high from marijuana. But for some people, it reveals its biphasic nature in high doses.

If you’re sensitive to the psychoactive effects of delta 9 THC, you may experience the following reactions:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of discomfort
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Short-term memory problems

Effects and Benefits of Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC is an isomer of delta 9, meaning both compounds have the same chemical formula. However, their atomic bonds are arranged differently. Delta 8 THC has a double bond at the eighth carbon chain, while delta 9 has this bond at the ninth chain.

This subtle difference causes delta 8 THC to lose some potency hence the high makes you feel relaxed. The cannabinoid is about 50% as potent as delta 9 THC; you’d need to consume twice as much delta 8 to experience the similar intensity of effects as with marijuana.

For this reason, delta 8 THC is also less likely to drive you anxious and paranoid.

Both cannabinoids share similar health benefits, such as:

  • Anti-nausea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief
  • Increased appetite
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Neuroprotection

Is Delta 8 THC Legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes, delta 8 THC is legal in Pennsylvania. Under state law, you can purchase, produce, distribute, and market delta 8 products as long as they contain no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.

Products meeting the 0.3% limit are federally legal because the 2018 Farm Bill legalized all hemp-derived cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, isomers, and salts of isomers.

14 states have outlawed delta 8 THC by extending the 0.3% limit to all variants. Fortunately, Pennsylvania follows the provisions of the Farm Bill and allows delta 8 products from hemp.

Benefits of Buying Delta 8 THC Online

Delta 8 THC is a trending topic, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding an online or local store near you with delta 8 products.

However, since the market is largely unregulated — with no manufacturing, labeling, and lab-testing standards in place — the best way to find high-quality delta 8 products is to look for a reputable online store.

Buying delta 8 online gives you more tools to vet your potential vendors. You can read the company’s “About Us” section, comb through customer reviews on third-party websites, or look into certificates of analysis to verify the product’s purity and potency.

Online stores also offer lower prices because they can cut out the middleman. You can further save more money on their products by using regular coupon codes or joining reward programs and subscription orders.

And you can say “goodbye” to bouncing between different hemp stores in search of the best product for your needs. You can compare different formulas and their prices unrestricted by time and in the comfort of your home.

Best Online Delta 8 THC Stores in Pennsylvania

It can be challenging for an inexperienced person to choose a decent delta 8 THC product right off the bat. A well-informed decision requires a serious amount of research, and that takes time.

Feeling in a rush? Check out these two leading brands. I’ve been using their products for the last two years and have never been more satisfied with transparency, quality, and consistency. Both companies triple-test their hemp extracts at different production stages to ensure maximum safety.

1. Area 52

image of Area 52 Delta8 Products

Get 15% off all Area 52 products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.

Area 52 is a Nevada-based manufacturer that has coined its reputation by offering premium delta 8 THC products from pure distillate. You can choose from tinctures, gummies, vape carts, and pre-rolled joints, all of which are potent and rich in terpenes to leverage the entourage effect in cannabis.

Area 52 has recently added other cannabinoid extracts to its line-up, featuring products like HHC gummies, CBG energy gummies, CBN sleep gummies, and CBD oil.

2. Finest Labs

image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Products

Finest Labs is a relatively young brand that takes a scientific approach to cannabinoid extracts. The company offers limited product formats — mostly tinctures, edibles, and vape carts — but its formulas are mastered to perfection.

Finest Labs is also one of the most respected manufacturers of botanical terpenes, offering single terpenes and special blends that recreate the flavor and experience of specific cannabis strains. You can use them to create your own cannabinoid formulas.


Who can use medical marijuana in Pennsylvania?

Medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is available for patients with certain qualifying conditions, including:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neuropathies
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe neuropathic pain
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Terminal illness

Can you grow weed in Pennsylvania?

No, growing marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania. Getting caught growing weed at home may lead to possession charges and being punished accordingly, depending on the number of plants and the number of dried flowers.

Can you smoke marijuana in Public?

Smoking marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania. The law doesn’t specify where medical consumption can take place, but patients aren’t allowed to smoke, even in private.

Can you travel with marijuana in Pennsylvania?

No, traveling with marijuana is outlawed in Pennsylvania. People also may not drive, operate, or be in physical control of a vehicle when under the influence of marijuana.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is punishable with 72 hours in jail and a $5,000 fine if that’s your first offense.

It’s illegal to take marijuana out of the state, as doing so will be considered a federal felony (drug trafficking). Trafficking less than 50 kilograms of marijuana or fewer than 50 plants is subject to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Is buying weed online an option in Pennsylvania?

No. Even medical marijuana patients can’t buy their medicine online. You need to visit one of the state’s medical dispensaries to get what you’re looking for.

Is CBD oil from hemp legal in Pennsylvania?

Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill erased hemp from the list of controlled substances, reclassifying it as an agricultural commodity. Hemp farmers can grow and sell hemp for any use, including paper, textiles, ropes, biofuel, construction materials, food, and health supplements like CBD oil.

Related: Is CBD Legal in Pennsylvania?

I recommend buying CBD oil from a reputable online store for the same reason I suggest doing so with delta 8 products — lower prices and more tools for researching your potential vendors.

Buying Weed in Pennsylvania: Bottom Line

The only legal way to buy marijuana in Pennsylvania is to become a medical marijuana patient. But even then, your medicating options are limited to non-inhalable forms.

It may take some time before Pennsylvania legalizes cannabis; the vast majority of the state government consists of anti-marijuana Republicans.

If you’re looking for a product that you can smoke or vape — one that’s federally legal and psychoactive at the same time — try out hemp-derived delta 8 THC. They offer milder psychoactive effects and are less likely to drive you anxious or paranoid.

The best deals on high-quality delta 8 THC products are found online. When shopping for delta 8 THC, make sure to ask for up-to-date certificates of analysis regarding the potency and purity of your product. It’s the only way to confirm that you’re getting exactly what you’ve paid for.

Nina created following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.