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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Marijuana Laws in Virginia

Marijuana Laws in Virginia

Marijuana laws are changing quickly throughout the country. It is important to stay up to date on the laws in your area so you know how to avoid legal trouble. Marijuana is illegal for the most part in Virginia, but as you will see, the laws are much more complicated than that. The laws cited here are current as of the posting of this article, but if you have any questions about changes or laws you should contact a knowledgeable defense attorney to make sure that you have the most up to date information.

Medicinal Marijuana

Virginia recently passed a law that will allow the manufacture of cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil, both oils that have low levels of THC, the compound in marijuana that produces the “high.” However, this oil has only been legally approved to treat severe forms of epilepsy. The oil itself was made legal for this limited medical purpose a few years ago, but until now there was no legal way for the oil to be made and processed.

Marijuana Penalties

Besides the very small exception explained above, marijuana is still illegal in Virginia with penalties that vary depending on the amount and circumstances. Below is an overview of the penalties in Virginia for marijuana possession, distribution, or other drug offenses:

  • Possession – Possession of half an ounce or less of marijuana is considered simple possession and is a Class 1 misdemeanor on the first offense and is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. A second offense is punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and/or 12 months in jail.
  • First Time Offender Program – First time offenders in Virginia may be eligible for a first offender program. Instead of jail time, first time offenders are on a probationary program where they have to take and pass drug tests as well as perform community service hours. If a first time offender violates the terms of this probation, they may again have to face the original charges.
  • Sale of Marijuana – Virginia does not have an amount of marijuana that automatically counts as intent to distribute. Distributing a half-ounce to half a pound of marijuana is a Class 5 felony, punishable by between one and ten years in prison. For a first offense, however, a judge has the discretion to sentence an offender to less than a year in prison and/or give them a fine of up to $2,500. Distributing between five pounds and 100 kilograms of marijuana is a felony punishable by five to 30 years in prison.
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences – Distributing over 100 kilograms of marijuana comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 yearsand up to a life sentence. However, the judge does have discretion to lower this mandatory minimum sentence if the offender meets one or more mitigating circumstances.

Drug Crime Attorney in Leesburg, Virginia

If you are caught with marijuana in Virginia, you need a skilled drug crime attorney on your side to help defend you against the charges. If you are charged with a drug crime in Loudoun, Fairfax or Prince William counties, contact our experienced drug crime attorneys at Simms Showers, in Leesburg, Virginia, as soon as possible to help you defend your charges.

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