In Allegheny County and throughout western Pennsylvania, people frequently cultivate marijuana plants and with the recent signing of the Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill, this may seem like a relief to marijuana growers. But it is important to remember that while the new medical marijuana law allows patients with one of 17 qualifying conditions to access the drug, the medical marijuana must be purchased from an authorized dispensary. Therefore, if you are found with marijuana plants even if the crop is just for your own use, it can still cause serious legal problems.
The Number of Marijuana Plants That Can Get You Arrested
You can be arrested for growing even one marijuana plant. The severity of the penalties you face will vary depending on the quantity of your plantings.
How a Marijuana Charge Can Harm You
Your marijuana lawyer will go over what happened both before and after your arrest. Importantly, he or she will assess whether there was probable cause to charge you with a crime. This includes determining if the marijuana plantings really belonged to you.
They also cite information from the Marijuana Policy Project: 15 of the 19 states that have legalized recreational marijuana and nearly half of the states with medical marijuana programs have home-grow provisions. No state with such a provision has attempted to repeal it.
Laughlin’s and Street’s proposed amendment, once introduced, will replicate the home-grow provision for medical marijuana patients that they included in their more comprehensive adult-use marijuana legalization bill earlier this year. Laughlin in February became the first Republican in the General Assembly to support the legalization of recreational marijuana.
“If you’re a cancer patient and you are not feeling well, cannabis helps you with nausea and stuff like that,” said Laughlin, whose district includes most of Erie County. “For folks that have to get in a car and drive an hour or so away to get what they need to make themselves feel better when they could have a couple of plants right in their house, it does seem a little bit cruel to not allow them to do that.”
A bipartisan duo of state senators wants to amend Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program to allow patients to grow the plant in their own homes.
Cultivation, the legislation states, must occur in an “enclosed, locked space” out of public view, that’s not accessible to an unauthorized person, including people under the age of 21. Medical marijuana dispensaries would sell seeds to patients for home cultivation. Neither the seeds, the plants nor the cultivated cannabis they produce could be sold or given to another person.
State Sen. Dan Laughlin, of Millcreek, R-49th Dist., and state Sen. Sharif Street, of Philadelphia, D-3rd Dist., who earlier this year proposed legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes, have again joined forces by proposing what will be known as the Medical Marijuana Home Cultivation Bill.
The bill would also address issues of convenience, he said, especially for medical marijuana patients who do not live near a dispensary.
The home-grow provision also stipulates that cultivation can only occur on residential property legally owned by the person growing it or with the permission of the property owner. Landlords, for example, could prohibit their tenants from cannabis cultivation.
Some 633,557 patients and caregivers are registered under the state’s medical marijuana program and 367,925 people hold active patient certifications, or about 2.6% of the state’s population, according to Pennsylvania Health Department data presented to the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board in August.