Marijuana Usage among High School Seniors Reaches 30 Year Record “High;” West Chester Marijuana Crimes Attorney Michael Skinner Discusses Trend and Pennsylvania Marijuana Laws

According to the 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) released last week by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana usage among the nation’s high school teens has steadily increased over the past four years, with high school seniors hitting a 30 year record peak in 2011.  The findings come as a result after surveying 46,733 students at 400 public and private schools in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades.  The study reported 50 percent of high school seniors having tried an illicit drug at some time, with this number being heavily influenced by the high amount of reported marijuana use.

More information specific for juvenile Pennsylvania marijuana crimes will be released later this spring when the Pennsylvania Youth Survey statistics are released.  Possession of marijuana in Pennsylvania is the most common marijuana related crime in the state, accounting for 79% of all marijuana related arrests in Pennsylvania during 2007.  Penalties associated with illegal possession of marijuana in Pennsylvania depend on several factors including the amount of marijuana found in possession, criminal history of the arrested person and whether that person had a “conscious dominion over the contraband.”

Commonwealth v. Davis, 444 Pa. 11 (1971) established that just simply being present at the scene of a crime involving a person or group of people in possession of marijuana does not provide sufficient evidence of proof that one has committed that crime; and therefore, a person cannot be held accountable for possession if that person does not have “conscious dominion over the contraband.”  Many states have similar “I didn’t know” laws but there are also limits to these such laws.  For instance, the fact of possession loses all persuasiveness if persons other than the accused had equal access to the drug.

Common punishments for Pennsylvania possession of marijuana charges heavily depend on the amount of drugs found.  The least serious being possession of 30 grams of Marijuana or less which Pennsylvania considers a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.  A person accused of possession of Marijuana with more than 30 grams is also still a misdemeanor but punishable by one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.  The more marijuana a person has in their possession and that is ultimately seized by authorities, the more susceptible a person also becomes to other charges such as intent to distribution or sale marijuana, which can have even greater penalties with more serious lasting effects.

Discrepancies and complexities associated with Georgia’s marijuana laws including possession of marijuana in Lancaster or Cultivation of Marijuana in West Chester can work for or against an individual arrested in Pennsylvania for a marijuana related crime.  It’s important to speak with a lawyer in your area about the specific details of your case if you have been arrested for a marijuana crime.  Hiring an attorney to create a defense for your case might ultimately help you avoid harsh repercussions such as a criminal record, large fines, difficulties getting the job you want due to commonly used background checks and youths accused of marijuana crimes may avoid problems gaining school loans and/or scholarships as well as other tuition assistance for higher education.

Chester County marijuana lawyer Michael Skinner represents men, women and minors accused of all types of Pennsylvania marijuana related crimes including possession of marijuana, marijuana trafficking in Pennsylvania and cultivation/grow house crimes throughout West Chester and surrounding areas within Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.  Call (267) 388-3476 to schedule a free consultation with West Chester criminal defense attorney Michael skinner.  The sooner you react to the charges against you, the better your chances become at fighting and having a strong enough defense to challenge the prosecutions efforts to penalize you with the harshest punishments.  Call Michael Skinner at Skinner Law Firm today.

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