In Pennsylvania, Marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I drug under the PA Drug and Device and Cosmetic Act. This means that State College does not recognize any medical usage for marijuana.
Marijuana offenses are categorized in 2 major categories: possession for personal use, graded as misdemeanor and possession with the intent to deliver, graded as a felony. A charge of a possession of a controlled substance can result in 12 months incarceration followed up by $5,000 fine. A second conviction would result in 3 years of incarceration and $25,000 fine. However a possession of small amount of marijuana (30 grams or less) can result in 30 days in jail and $500 fine.
In State College, PA the borough decided to change the crime of the possession of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a summary offense. This occured after 2016 and the borough decided that 30 grams or less of marijuana or 8 grams or less of hashish constitutes a small amount of marijuana.
The repercussions for this charge is a non-traffic citation and an individual can face a 250 dollar fine if they are caught in possession of the substance with a $350 fine if they are caught smoking the substance. However, if the charge is made in connection to another crime, it cannot be separated and dropped as an ordinance violation. This ordinance only applies to State College and Pennsylvania State University must maintain that compliance with Drug-Free Schools and Community Act that states any institution receiving federal money must prevent possession of drugs by students and employees.
A year later, the State College Borough decided to amend this choice in order to better serve the community. The Borough decided to address the marijuana paraphernalia and the location where the possession of a small amount marijuana charge is given.
In the State College borough, the police are the ones who enforce this crime. Once on the Pennsylvania State University’s campus, possession is enforced as a misdemeanor not a non-traffic citation. However most marijuana possession charges come along on University Park campus, not the State College Borough.
As the Federal government comes to terms onto whether legalize marijuana, municipalities are taking this into their own hands and discovering their own agency. Only time will tell what State College will do next.