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Penn State Marijuana Possession Archives

Penn State Has Not Decriminalized Marijuana Possession

As many people are aware, the State College Borough recently passed an ordinance to allow the State College Police Department to issue a non-traffic summary citation for a person who is caught smoking or in possession of less than thirty grams of marijuana. According to many online newspaper articles, this is being called the decriminalization of marijuana in State College. Regrettably, many people are associating the word "decriminalization" to meannittany_lion_shrine_closeup.png legalization, and many people do not realize that the ordinance charge is only available in the State College Borough and not all of the area commonly called State College. The confusion of the new ordinance's applicability is actually likely to cause Penn State students to openly engage in marijuana-related activities that they believe are now legal.

State College Did Not Decriminalize Marijuana

While the State College Borough's decision to pass an ordinance to create a summary, non-traffic violation to cover people who possess less than 30 grams of marijuana is being touted as a "decriminalization of marijuana," that simply is not the case. The misdemeanor offense of Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana under 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(31) remains viable and on the books. More importantly, the other charges associated with marijuana, such as adecriminalizatin_marijuana.jpg misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a felony charge of Delivery of Marijuana remain the law in Pennsylvania, and no State College Borough ordinance was created to deal with those charges.

State College Borough Makes Marijuana Possession a Summary Offense

On August 1, 2016, the State College Borough passed an ordinance that created a new violation of the State College Borough code that made possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana a summary, non-traffic offense. According to the proposed ordinance, a person caught smoking in public will receive a non-traffic summary citation that will be filed with the local Magisterial District Court; a public smoker is subject to a $350.00 fine and a person that is caught merely possessing the marijuana will receive a $250.00 fine.

Will Penn State Decriminalize Possession of a Small Amount Marijuana for Personal Use?

According to online news reports, the State College Borough is considering following the lead of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and passing a local ordinance to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. This does not mean that marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, a person that possesses less than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use is normally charged with a misdemeanor offense under 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(31). The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, and results in a Pennsylvania license suspension. While cities and boroughs mamarijuana-smoker.jpgy create new, lesser offenses for possession of weed, the officer could still choose to file the misdemeanor criminal offense.

False Report of Marijuana Possession Leads to Firing of Penn State Fencing Coach

What is a successful coach? How about 12 team national championships, 28 individual NCAA titles, 10 Olympians, and 188 All-Americans over a span of 31 years! That is winning a national title almost every other year. Who was this coach? The former leader of the men's fencing team at Penn State. That is a record that any coach would be proud of. So what caused Penn State to fire this gem of a  coach?

Police Officers Admit to Getting High from Marijuana at Office

As a criminal defense lawyer in State College since 2004, I have dealt with members of the Centre County Drug Task Force, agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, and general officers of the local police departments on marijuana cases. I have used the much repeated joke over the years that the officers probably "field test" the marijuana by smoking it and seeing if they get high. In a recent article on the Huffington Post, police officers at a department in Northern France have approximately 90 pounds of marijuana in the evidence room of the police station, and the officers are complaining that they are getting high from the strong odor of marijuana emanating throughout the building. Some officers had even taken a drug test, and they tested positive for marijuana. The agency that normally picks up the drug evidence and transports it to another location is on strike, so the marijuana stash has been piling up for a few weeks.