Virginia Legalizes Marijuana For Recreational Possession & Use
As of July 1, 2021, it is no longer a drug crime to possess or use marijuana recreationally in the Commonwealth of Virginia, subject to specific limitations. When Senate Bill 1406 became law, it also created the Cannabis Control Act to regulate the possession and use of marijuana by adults who are at least 21 years old. Additionally, Virginia law now permits adults to cultivate their own cannabis plants for personal use at home.
What are the New Virginia Laws for Marijuana Possession?
Code of Virginia Section 4.1-1100 establishes the new laws for possession of marijuana. Under this section, adults over the age of 21 are allowed to:
- Possess no more than one ounce of marijuana on their person or in any public place; and
- Possess an equivalent amount of marijuana product on their person or in any public place.
In this context, Code of Virginia Section 4.1-600 provides several important definitions. First, the term “marijuana” refers to any part of a cannabis plant, including its seeds or resin. “Marijuana” also refers to every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the cannabis plant. “Marijuana” does not include industrial hemp or hemp products.
Second, the term “marijuana product” refers to:
- Any products composed of marijuana and other ingredients that is intended for use or consumption, such as food, ointments, and tinctures; or
- Marijuana concentrate, which is cannabis processed to increase potency.
How Does Virginia Now Penalize Marijuana Possession?
Section 4.1-1100 also explains the Virginia penalties for unlawful marijuana possession. If an adult possesses more than one ounce of marijuana on their person or in any public place, it qualifies as a civil offense. The penalty for this civil offense is a maximum fine of $25.
In addition, Code of Virginia Section 4.1-1105.1 furnishes the penalty for underage possession or use of marijuana. If the offender is under 21 years of age but is:
- At least 18 years old — There is a civil penalty of $25 and, most likely, substance abuse treatment, an education program, or both; or
- Under 18 years old — The juvenile is considered delinquent and subject to a civil penalty of $25 and, most likely, substance abuse treatment, an education program, or both.
What are the New Virginia Laws for Marijuana Cultivation?
Code of Virginia Section 4.1-1101 permits adults in Virginia over the age of 21 to cultivate a maximum of four cannabis plants in their main residence, subject to certain restrictions. Notably, the limit of four cannabis plants applies to the entire household. For people living together, that means a maximum of four plants across all occupants, not per person. There are other guidelines concerning visibility and underage access.
The cultivation of more than four but less than 10 cannabis is punishable as follows:
- First Offense — Civil offense with a maximum fine of $250;
- Second Offense — Class 3 misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500; or
- Third or Subsequent Offense — Class 2 misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1,000 and, potentially, six months in county jail.
It is vital to note that severity of charges and penalties increases for the unlawful cultivation of more than 10 cannabis plants.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with Virginia charges for a drug crime, it is important to contact an attorney. The Leesburg drug crimes lawyers at Simms Showers LLP are well-versed in criminal defense and are prepared to help you today.