Virginia has joined many states across the country in seeking to eliminate criminal charges in some areas of marijuana possession. However, the changes the state has made are often confusing and that confusion can lead to criminal charges.
The current law in Virginia allows anyone 21 years of age or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, but there is still no way to legally purchase marijuana for purely recreational purposes. There are dispensaries where individuals who have been approved can purchase cannabis products for medical use.
It is now legal for a person to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes. However, in order to grow those plants, you aren’t able to buy the seeds – it is illegal to sell marijuana seeds in Virginia. It is also important to be aware that it is not legal to consume any type of marijuana or cannabis product or offer marijuana or cannabis products to another in public.
What About Delta-8?
As lawmakers grapple with trying to straighten out the confusion over the state’s marijuana laws, they are also now confronting new issues. While it is currently illegal to sell cannabis products in Virginia, it is not illegal to sell Delta-8 – a product that provides a high for users but doesn’t fall under marijuana laws because it is made from hemp, which is legal in the state. There are also retailers who legally sell non-intoxicating CBD products that are also made from hemp.
According to multiple statements made by Virginia lawmakers to the media, addressing all of these issues in multiple bills to be filed in the General Assembly 2023 session, including one bill that would launch a regulated commercial market in 2024.
Current Marijuana Penalties
Under current Virginia law, a conviction for a marijuana offense can mean:
- Possession of 1 to 4 ounces in public – This is a civil violation and the fine is $25.
- First offense possession of more than 4 ounces up to one pound in public – This is charged as a misdemeanor, with no jail time, but up to a $500 fine.
- Second and subsequent offense of more than 4 ounces up to one pound in public – This is charged as a misdemeanor, and could face up to six months in jail, and up to a $1,000 fine.
- Possession of more than one pound in public – This is charged as a felony, and carries a one to 10-year prison term, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Any charge involving the sale of any amount of cannabis over one ounce is charged as a felony offense. The larger the amount, the harsher the penalty, with prison sentences ranging from one year up to life.
Contact a Criminal Defense Law Firm
With such confusing laws, you could easily find yourself facing misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession. If this happens, do not delay in contacting a skilled Fairfax, VA misdemeanor lawyer from May Law, LLP.