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What is the Difference Between Distributing Controlled Substances & Marijuana?

Marijuana3

The Virginia Criminal Code provides many laws against various drug crimes, and includes severe criminal penalties for violations. Within the domain of Virginia, it is unlawful to distribute controlled substances, such as heroin, opium, or cocaine. It is also illegal to distribute marijuana, outside of narrow exceptions. That being said, there are separate statutes and penalties for each of these distribution crimes.

Distribution of a Controlled Substance

Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248, it is unlawful to distribute, manufacture, sell, or otherwise transfer any controlled substance. This section also prohibits any person from possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, manufacture, sell, or transfer.

Any person who violates Section 18.2-248 faces a multifaceted punishment structure. The penalties for a conviction increase exponentially for larger quantities, especially if is the substance in question is a Schedule I/II substance, like heroin or cocaine. From a general standpoint, distribution or possession with intent to distribute a:

  • Schedule I/II Controlled Substance — Results in felony charges with a potential punishment of five to 40 years in prison and up to $500,000 in criminal fines;
  • Schedule III Controlled Substance — Results in Class 5 felony charges with a potential punishment of one to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines;
  • Schedule IV Controlled Substance — Results in Class 6 felony charges with a potential punishment of one to five years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines; or
  • Schedule V/VI Controlled Substance — Results in Class 1 misdemeanor charges with a potential punishment of 12 months in county jail and up to $2,500 in criminal fines.

Distribution of Marijuana

Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.1, it is unlawful to distribute, manufacture, sell, or otherwise transfer marijuana. This section also prohibits any person from possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, manufacture, sell, or transfer.

Any person who violates Section 18.2-248.1 is subject to a penalty system that changes based on quantity. The larger the amount of marijuana in question, the more stringent the punishment. For example, distribution of marijuana or possession of marijuana with intent to distribute:

  • One Ounce or Less — Results in Class 1 misdemeanor charges with the same punishment described in the previous section;
  • One Ounce to Five Pounds — Results in Class 5 felony charges with the same punishment described in the previous section; or
  • More than Five Pounds — Results in felony charges with a potential punishment of five to 30 years in prison as well as criminal fines.

It is important to note that Section 18.2-248.1 establishes one ounce as the limit for personal possession. In other words, possession with intent to distribute crimes can only involve one ounce or more of marijuana. Otherwise, it is considered personal possession and thus is subject to other Virginia regulations.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal assistance with Virginia charges for a drug crime, it can be highly valuable to contact a qualified Leesburg drug crimes lawyer. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP have built considerable experience and knowledge in the arena of criminal defense, including drug crimes and various other charges. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

https://www.simmsshowerslaw.com/police-officer-arrested-for-drug-crimes-in-virginia-beach/

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