As a criminal defense attorney in a bustling college town, I am often asked how State College's head shops and mom and pop convenience stores can get away with selling bongs, bowls, vaporizers, empty plastic dime bags and the like. This is a common question among people who find themselves charged with the ungraded misdemeanor known as "possession of drug paraphernalia," along with a charge of possession of a small amount of marijuana. These clients usually say something like, "I knew it was illegal to have weed, but I didn't think it was a separate crime to have a bowl, when you can buy one at Jamaica Junction."
A Pittsburgh woman recently found out the hard way
what the consequences are for bringing a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia onto state prison grounds. The 20 year old college student was apparently attempting to visit someone at the new SCI Benner Township facility next to SCI Rockview, when drug sniffing dogs alerted corrections officers to the presence of contraband. A subsequent search revealed a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the defendant's possession.
Recently, I posted a blog entry entitled "Beware of the Enemy Within," in which I describe a not uncommon scenario where an angry wife or girlfriend runs to the police to implicate her boyfriend or husband for drug possession. Perhaps if a West Manheim Township man would have read my blog post and heeded its warning, he would not find himself in the world of pain he is in now.