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    Criminal Charges for Selling Marijuana in Pennsylvania – Mandatory Minimum Sentences

    Page last reviewed and updated: August 14, 2020

    Depending on the amounts being “sold,” an individual may face many years in prison if ultimately convicted of even a single count of manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance.

    Related: Mandatory Minimum Sentences in Criminal Drug-Gun Cases in Philadelphia, PA

    Drug possession/dealing cases accepted in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County & Scranton/Lackawanna County. FREE CONSULTATIONS (215) 564-0644

    For instance, selling between 2 and 9 pounds of marijuana will result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 1 year with afine of at least $5,000. Selling 10 pounds or more (but less than 50 pounds) will result in 3 years in prison. Second convictions result in higher prison terms. See 18 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues Section 7508. Drug trafficking sentencing and penalties.

    Subsection (a)(1) of the mandatory minimum sentencing law pertains to marijuana offenses and provides:

    A person who is convicted of violating section 13(a)(14), (30) or (37) of the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, where the controlled substance is marijuana shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and a fine as set forth in this subsection:

    (i) when the amount of marijuana involved is at least two pounds, but less than ten pounds, or at least ten live plants but less than 21 live plants; one year in prison and a fine of $ 5,000 or such larger amount as is sufficient to exhaust the assets utilized in and the proceeds from the illegal activity; however, if at the time of sentencing the defendant has been convicted of another drug trafficking offense: two years in prison and a fine of $ 10,000 or such larger amount as is sufficient to exhaust the assets utilized in and the proceeds from the illegal activity;

    (ii) when the amount of marijuana involved is at least ten pounds, but less than 50 pounds, or at least 21 live plants but less than 51 live plants; three years in prison and a fine of $ 15,000 or such larger amount as is sufficient to exhaust the assets utilized in and the proceeds from the illegal activity; however, if at the time of sentencing the defendant has been convicted of another drug trafficking offense: four years in prison and a fine of $ 30,000 or such larger amount as is sufficient to exhaust the assets utilized in and the proceeds from the illegal activity; and

    (iii) when the amount of marijuana involved is at least 50 pounds, or at least 51 live plants; five years in prison and a fine of $ 50,000 or such larger amount as is sufficient to exhaust the assets utilized in and the proceeds from the illegal activity.

    Related: Philadelphia Criminal Drug Arrest News (April 2014)

    Selling Smaller Amounts of Marijuana

    Individuals who are charged with selling smaller amounts of marijuana (i.e., a dime bag) can still be charged with felony possession with intent to deliver. The sentence depends on application of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines (SG). Under the SG, a given crime is assigned an offense gravity score. Other factors such as the individual’s prior conviction history are taken into account. In theory, a first time offender who is found guilty of selling a small amount of marijuana could get a sentence of probation.

    However, even in these small amount drug deal cases, prosecutors in Pennsylvania (i.e., Philadelphia) almost always attempt to apply sentence enhancing laws in order to increase sentences. The school zone drug sentencing law is one of the most widely used laws prosecutors try to use to enhance prison sentences.

    Under the Drug-Free School Zones Act, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6317, someone who sold a small amount of marijuana within 1000 feet of a school or 250 feet of a park or rec center could be sentenced to a mandatory 2-4 years in prison.

    It is important to note that there have been major changes in how prosecutors prove sentencing factors, such as the school zone enhancement. Due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Alleyne v. U.S., DA offices are required to submit any such sentencing enhancement factors to the jury, rather than the judge at the time of sentencing.

    As a result of the Alleyne case, the school zone enhancement, which can add years to a prison sentence, may not apply. Read more about this landmark case.

    Drug Charge Lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    To discuss your legal rights in a criminal case involving drug possession with intent to deliver in a school zone, please call our office at (215) 564-0644. FREE CONSULTATIONS

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