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."
In Pennsylvania, charges of drug paraphernalia and small amount of marijuana go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is easy to understand that a "small amount of marijuana" is less than 30 grams of any parts of the cannabis plant, but what exactly drug paraphernalia means is not readily apparent.