Despite the fact that Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, permits a limited number of dispensaries for the state’s medical marijuana patients with a doctor’s recommendation and an identification card, being charged with trafficking marijuana in Pittsburgh is just as serious as if you were charged with trafficking other illegal drugs. Recreational marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 Drug, and Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws will be used against you if you are found guilty. This means that even if there are extenuating circumstances, the judge has to give you at least the minimum sentence required by the law for selling marijuana.
What Quantity Of Marijuana Will Get You Arrested?
You can be arrested for trafficking two pounds or more of marijuana. The severity of the penalties you face will vary depending on the quantity that are found selling.
How a Marijuana Charge Can Harm You
If you are convicted of trafficking two to 10 pounds of marijuana and it’s your first offense, the government can seek to have you sentenced to one year minimum in prison and have to pay a fine of up to $5,000. If you have a prior conviction, you will have to serve two years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine.
If you are convicted of trafficking 10 to 50 pounds of marijuana and it’s your first offense, you will be sentenced to three years in prison and have to pay a fine up to $15,000. If you have a prior conviction, you will have to serve four years in prison and pay a $30,000 fine.
If you are found guilty of trafficking 50 or more pounds of marijuana, you will be sentenced to five years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
Other penalties you may face if convicted of a marijuana trafficking charge are less tangible. You will have a criminal record that can negatively effect your ability to get a good job, join the military, obtain certain professional licenses, or be admitted to graduate school. You may be unable to obtain a federally subsidized student loan or other types of federal student financial aid. Obtaining bank accounts or loans may be incredibly difficult.
Your driver’s license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second offense and two years for a third offense.
If you share custody of your children, a marijuana trafficking conviction could be damaging to your custodial agreement and you may be unable to see your children.
Cultivation and Trafficking
Marijuana is the most widely-used drug locally, and some people create large-scale marijuana cultivation operations to cash in on the drug’s popularity. Experts estimate that a single plant can be worth $1,000 in sales.
If you run a marijuana cultivation operation, you can be charged with trafficking through cultivating marijuana. If you are found guilty, your penalties will depend on the number of plants you grew.
Trafficking through the cultivation of marijuana is complex. If you’re caught with nine or fewer live marijuana plants, the police can determine the weight of the marijuana plants at the place of arrest. This includes the roots of the marijuana plant but doesn’t include soil.
- From 10 to 20 plants — one year in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- From 21 to 50 plants — three years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
- More than 50 plants — five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Charged – Call a Pittsburgh Marijuana Trafficking Lawyer
With sizable fines and several years of prison time at stake if you’re convicted, trafficking marijuana charges are quite serious. When your freedom and your rights are on the line, having an experienced Pittsburgh marijuana lawyer fight and negotiate on your behalf is key. It can make all the difference. An attorney who has experience with marijuana cases can review the evidence, negotiate with the Commonwealth for the best possible outcome, and help you navigate the ins and outs of the Pennsylvania criminal system.
If you were arrested for marijuana trafficking while you were in your car, a critical aspect of your case will be whether or not the police had probable cause to pull you over and do a search. If there was not probable cause, the evidence obtained by law enforcement can be suppressed or ruled inadmissible.