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Is it illegal to have drug paraphernalia if I don’t do drugs?

Drug paraphernalia is a matter of some controversy. You may have it but never use it. You may have gotten a bong as a joke from a friend. You may have kept it as a remnant of your younger, wilder youth. However, possessing drug paraphernalia of any kind is a serious offense in the state of Pennsylvania.

What qualifies as drug paraphernalia?

It’s an exhaustive list, but anything used to grow, modify, inject, ingest or inhale an illegal substance qualifies as paraphernalia. If the police discover it in your possession, you could face significant consequences.

Examples include:

  • Kits used for cultivating a plant that is classified as a controlled substance
  • Equipment used for manufacturing or processing a controlled substance
  • Scales and balances intended to weigh controlled substances
  • Diluents and adulterants used to cut controlled substances
  • Sifters used to refine marijuana or another controlled substance
  • Blenders and bowls used to compound controlled substances
  • Containers and balloons used to transport controlled substances
  • Hypodermic syringes used for injecting controlled substances
  • Pipes used for inhaling controlled substances
  • Water pipes
  • Smoking and carburetion masks
  • Miniature cocaine spoons and vials
  • Carburetor pipes
  • Bongs
  • Ice pipes or chillers
  • Vaporizers

What if I don’t have any drugs—just the accessories?

Possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor with or without the presence of controlled substances. It doesn’t matter if you use it. It only matters that you have it. This may seem harsh, but it is the law. Drug penalties are severe—drug paraphernalia penalties included.

What are the penalties?

Possessing drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. This is the maximum penalty, however. An experienced lawyer may be able to help you get this reduced or even get the charges dismissed. An arrest does not equal a conviction on drug offense cases. There are defenses available.

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