Possessing illicit substances, such as any of the controlled substances prohibited by law, is a crime in Pennsylvania and other U.S. states. But apart from the substances themselves, it’s also illegal to have the equipment and tools used to produce, cultivate and store them.
What qualifies as paraphernalia?
According to state law, if an item is used to plant, harvest, cultivate, compound, process, test, package, inject or ingest illicit drugs, it’s paraphernalia.
Some examples of paraphernalia include:
- Bongs and pipes
- Cigar wraps, rolling paper
- Cutting agents for drugs such as aspirin, baby powder, fentanyl and caffeine
- Scales and balances for measuring substances
- Containers and bags to store the substances
Per Pennsylvania law, it’s an offense to possess or use drug paraphernalia. It’s also a crime to deliver, promote or advertise objects intended for use as drug paraphernalia.
Understanding the penalties
A person charged with violating the state’s drug paraphernalia laws potentially faces a misdemeanor conviction. The penalties include up to a year of imprisonment and $2,500 in fines.
In addition, any person who delivers drug paraphernalia to a person under 18 commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. The offense is punishable by up to two years of prison and $5,000 in fines.
Pennsylvania’s drug paraphernalia laws encompass a wide range of items that go beyond possession of controlled substances. The laws are also very strict, with harsh penalties for anyone convicted. A conviction can lead to lasting consequences beyond jail time and fines, leaving a person with a criminal record that can hurt their future education and employment opportunities.
If you find yourself in such a situation, consider seeking legal counsel. An attorney may be able to protect your rights in court and help build your case.