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Can I Bring Marijuana into Pennsylvania if I Purchased it Legally in New Jersey or Another State?

Cannabis & Pennsylvania

By Adam HeathPublished 4 years ago 2 min read

In 2020 there are four states in the United states that have recreational marijuana initiatives on their respective ballots. These four states of New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota all have propositions that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years or older.

With these four states potentially posed to pass legislation that would legalize marijuana in November 2020, one may ask themselves:

“Can I purchase marijuana legally in one state where recreational marijuana is legal and bring it back to a state where recreational marijuana is illegal?”

The simple answer to this question is no. The more complicated answer is still no with potential additional criminal charges

Buying Marijuana in a State Where it is Legal & Transporting to a State Where it is Illegal

For this article’s sake we will use Pennsylvania as an example. In the State of Pennsylvania the possession of marijuana is illegal for possession, sale or distribution, cultivation and possession of paraphernalia. While possession of marijuana under the 30 grams or less is considered a misdemeanor, sale or distribution along with cultivation of plants carry stiff penalties that are listed as felonies and can include incarceration periods of up to five years.

Based on the current laws in the State of Pennsylvania, if you purchased cannabis in a different jurisdiction and were found to be in possession of cannabis a misdemeanor or felony may be charged to the individual in possession of the illicit substance. However certain jurisdictions within the State of Pennsylvania have reformed the criminal policy originally in place, and have decriminalized possession of “small amounts” of marijuana, generally under thirty grams.

Municipalities with criminal reforms in place include (but are not limited to):

  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Harrisburg
  • State College
  • York
  • Erie
  • Allentown
  • Bethlehem
  • Lancaster
  • Steelton

The legal outlines between federal, state and local jurisdictions are incredibly muddled when it comes to marijuana, although marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, eleven states plus the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for individuals over the age of 21. With four more states in 2020 poised to vote on the recreational use of Marijuana. If all four states vote to approve recreational cannabis in 2020, the amount of states that have legalized recreational use of cannabis could be as high as 15 or 30% of all states in the country.

However, even if you purchase marijuana in a state where marijuana is legal for recreational use, transporting the controlled substance across state lines can involve serious penalties as a culprit may be punished under both state and federal law. Do yourself a favor and avoid transporting marijuana from one jurisdiction where it is legal to purchase and consume, to another one where it is illegal to consume. Transporting marijuana from one state to another, without the proper licensing, can result in federal criminal prosecution.


To summarize, if you are in a state where marijuana is legal on a recreational level and comply with all of the state’s rules and regulations, possession should not be a problem. However, if you transport marijuana from one state to another, federal laws may be enforced and harsh penalties are possible.

In Pennsylvania’s case, do not transport any marijuana from any state, including potentially New Jersey where marijuana is on the ballot in 2020, to the Keystone state for recreational purposes. Doing so may result in serious penalties.


About the Creator

Adam Heath

Adam graduated from Chico State with a degree in History and works in the digital marketing sector. An avid fan of baseball, you can find him sitting in Petco Park's bleachers or wolfing down a burrito in his free time.

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