Effective July 2021, Virginia updated their laws regarding marijuana. Marijuana legalization in Virginia has been a hot topic lately. The overhaul of the laws included everything from possession to sale to cultivation, so let’s look at each of these Virginia Marijuana categories:
POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA
For individuals 21 years of age or older, possession of less than 1 oz is legal. Possession of marijuana in Virginia is still illegal for individuals 20 years of age or younger.
If you are under 21 (not yet the legal Virginia smoking age), and you are caught with marijuana in your possession, the judge can fine you up to $25 and/or require you to go through a court-approved drug education or treatment program.
If you are 21 or over, and you possess more than 1 oz of marijuana on your person, you could be subject to fines and/or jail time:
- 1-15 oz of marijuana: $25 fine.
- 1 lb (16 oz) or more of marijuana: 1-10 years of jail time and/or up to $250,000 in fines.
(For people wondering, is medical marijuana legal in Virginia? The answer is yes to a limited extent. Talk to your doctor for details.)
CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA
For recreational purposes, Virginia marijuana laws state that the legal age to smoke marijuana is 21. Individuals 21 years of age or older are allowed to smoke marijuana in private settings.
If you are caught smoking in a public place, you are subject to penalty:
- First offense: $25 fine
- Second offense: $25 fine and/or substance abuse education or treatment program
- Third offense: Class 4 Misdemeanor (up to $250 fine)
If you are caught consuming (or possessing) marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia on public school grounds, you can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor—which could mean you spend up to 6 months in jail and/or pay up to $1,000 in fines.
If you are caught smoking while driving a motor vehicle or riding in a motor vehicle on a public highway in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you can be charged with a Class 4 Misdemeanor (up to $250 fine).
Virginia cannabis laws state that even if the police officer does not see you smoking, but catches you with signs that you have been smoking in the moving vehicle, you can be charged.
To be safe, you should keep the marijuana in the sealed container you bought it in until you get to your destination. If the container is open, it is a good idea to keep it in the trunk of your vehicle when possible.
CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA
Many people want to know, is it illegal to grow marijuana in Virginia? They also wonder how to grow marijuana in Virginia.
- Each plant must be tagged with the owner’s name, driver’s license/state ID number, and “for personal use.”
- Plants must not be obviously visible to the public.
- Plants cannot be in a place where those under 21 can reach/access them.
- Rental landlords may restrict cultivation on their property, if they choose.
- You can only grow plants in the primary place where you live; you cannot grow them at your house, your mom’s house, and your grandfather’s house, for instance.
- For possessing/cultivating 5-10 marijuana plants, expect:
- First offense: $250 fine
- Second offense: Class 3 misdemeanor (up to $500 fine)
- Third and subsequent offenses: Class 2 misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine)
- For possessing/cultivating 11-49 marijuana plants, expect a Class 1 Misdemeanor charge—up to 12 months in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
- For possessing/cultivating 50-100 marijuana plants, expect a Class 6 Felony—1 to 5 years in prison and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
- For possessing/cultivating more than 100 marijuana plants, expect a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines.
SALES/DELIVERY OF MARIJUANA
It is still illegal to sell or possess with intent to sell marijuana within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Possession with intent to distribute in VA is treated the same as actual selling.
|If you are caught…||You will be subject to…|
|Selling 1 oz to 5 lbs||1-10 years in prison and/or max fine of $2,500|
|Selling 5 lbs – 100 kg||5-30 years in prison and/or max fine of $1,000|
|Selling more than 100 kg||20 years to life in prison and/or a max fine of $100,000|
|Selling to a minor who is at least 3 years younger than you||2-50 years in prison and/or a max fine of $100,000|
|Selling with in 1000 ft of a school or school bus stop||1-5 years in prison and/or a max fine of $100,000|
|Manufacturing with intent to sell||5-30 years in prison and/or a max fine of $100,000|
|Transporting more than 5 lbs into Virginia||5-40 years in prison and/or a max fine of $1,000,000|
All of these penalties are considered felonies. All of them come with at least the minimum prison sentence and may or may not include the fine.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE CAUGHT
You may wonder what to do when you get caught smoking weed. If you are 21 or older and smoking in a private area, you have nothing to worry about. But if you are caught violating any marijuana law, no matter how big or small, we recommend calling a local criminal attorney immediately.