How Does Virginia Address Cannabis Distribution Drug Crimes?
Even though the Commonwealth of Virginia legalized cannabis for recreational possession and use, unlawful distribution remains a drug crime. Furthermore, any person who violates the Virginia laws against the distribution, sale, or gift of cannabis can face severe punishment, including criminal fines and confinement in jail or prison.
What are the Virginia Laws Against Cannabis Distribution?
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.1 provides the laws against cannabis distribution drug crimes. Outside of specific exceptions, this section makes it unlawful to:
- Distribute, sell, or give cannabis; or
- Possess cannabis with intent to distribute, sell, or give.
On a related note, Section 18.2-248.1 creates a rebuttable presumption concerning personal use. Unless evidence dictates otherwise, Virginia considers it personal use to possess one ounce or less of cannabis. In other words, possessing one ounce or less is unlikely to result in charges for possession with intent to distribute, sell, or give.
How Does Virginia Punish Cannabis Distribution?
Section 18.2-248.1 also furnishes the Virginia punishment for cannabis distribution drug crimes. Typically, the unlawful distribution of cannabis with respect to:
- One ounce or less — Is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines, either or both;
- Between one ounce and five pounds — Is a Class 5 felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines, either or both; or
- More than five pounds — Is a felony punishable by five to 30 years in prison and criminal fines, either or both.
It is worth noting that Section 18.2-248.1 establishes other penalties for the unlawful distribution of cannabis. If a person violates this section as an accommodation — without any intent to profit or receive other compensation — it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for this misdemeanor mirrors the one described above.
Any person who manufactures cannabis — or possesses cannabis with intent to manufacture — can face felony charges. The punishment for this felony includes five to 30 years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines.
If a person commits a cannabis distribution drug crime as an accommodation — without intent to profit — to an inmate of a correctional facility, it is a Class 4 felony. The punishment for this felony includes two to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in criminal fines.
There is also a separate penalty for repeat offenders. Any person who violates Section 18.2-248.1 for a third or subsequent time can face felony charges. The punishment for this felony includes five years to life in prison and up to $500,000 in criminal fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with Virginia charges for any drug crime, it can be abundantly valuable to consult with a trusted Leesburg drug crimes lawyer. With more than 140 years of combined legal experience, the lawyers at Simms Showers LLP can help defend against various criminal charges, including drug crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.