MARIJUANA DIVERSION PROGRAM
About The Program:
In an effort to provide an alternative, the Marijuana Diversion Program allows individuals who have been charged with Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana to have charges DISMISSED.
This program is voluntary and is provided to you by the Berks County District Attorney's Office, in cooperation with the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA). Participants are required to attend a 3-hour educational session provided by COCA which includes factual information concerning the pharmacology of marijuana, and marijuana and other substance use disorders. Participants will have the opportunity to examine the effects of their personal use of marijuana.
Those who choose to participate in the Marijuana Diversion Program must complete the program within 60 days following his/her preliminary arraignment before a Magisterial District Judge.
How To Get Involved:
- Any individual who has been charged with Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana in Berks County can participate in the Marijuana Diversion Program. Individuals charges with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia may also be eligible as well, as long as the paraphernalia is related to the marijuana charges.
- If an individual is interested, the referral to the Marijuana Diversion Program is initiated by the Magisterial District Judge at the preliminary arraignment. The cost of the program includes a non-refundable $50 fee payable to COCA prior to attending the program. The individual may also be responsible for any court costs assessed by the Magisterial District Judge.
- Upon the successful completion of the program (including payment of any court costs), the District Attorney's Office will dismiss the charges pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 546 entitled Dismissal Upon Satisfaction of Agreement.
If an individual does not wish to participate in the Marijuana Diversion Program, the charges will be handled as any other charges are handled by the Magisterial District Judge and by the Court of Common Pleas.
Requirements for the Marijuana Diversion Program
- The participant shall complete three (3) hours of marijuana specific education in compliance with the requirements listed below. A non-refundable $50.00 service fee and signed agreement must be submitted before the participant is eligible to schedule his/her class. If paying by check, be advised that there will be a $40.00 fee charges for each returned check.
- Attendance and promptness to the scheduled educational session is mandatory. No unexcused absence or tardiness will be allowed. Any unexcused absence or tardiness may result in termination from the program.
- The program instructor has the option to dismiss any participant he/she perceives to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and/or disruptive in class. No food, beverages, or tobacco of any type will be allowed during class.
- The participant/defendant must waive his/her right to a prompt preliminary hearing pursuant to PA.R.Crim.P. 540(G)(1). This waiver will permit the participant to complete the Diversion Program prior to the scheduled preliminary hearing and receive the benefit of the Diversion Program if he/she completes the program successfully.
ALL MARIJUANA DIVERSION PROGRAM REFERRAL FORMS CAN BE FOUND AT ANY MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT JUDGE OFFICE IN BERKS COUNTY.