Changing Marijuana Laws And Defense For Marijuana Crime Charges
Marijuana laws in Virginia have recently been in flux. In May 2020, the governor signed a bill “decriminalizing” marijuana, making it a minor civil infraction to possess up to an ounce of the drug. Under this decriminalized status, possession of marijuana in any form has been punishable by a $25 fine issued in the form of a ticket with no arrest made.
As of July 2021, people 21 and older are allowed to carry up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to four cannabis plants at home. It is still a crime to possess more than one ounce of marijuana in the state. Dispensary sales are scheduled to be legalized in 2024.
I am attorney Abraham Del Rio III, and I can help you navigate the confusing legal landscape if you have been charged with a marijuana crime. Anyone in the Richmond area facing marijuana charges of any kind is urged to contact Del Rio Law, PLLC.
Possession And Sale Of Marijuana In Virginia
Although possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in Virginia, federal laws have not changed. People who want to take advantage of the newer, more lax marijuana laws in our state need to understand that ambiguity may occur when it comes to enforcement of federal laws. Marijuana is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.
Traditionally, individuals who have been found to be in possession of marijuana could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Those facing a subsequence offense have faced increased penalties, including up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. As of July 2021, such penalties will only apply when someone is charged with a state crime involving more than one ounce of the drug.
Selling marijuana is also unlawful in Virginia. The sale of half an ounce of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with the sale of five pounds or more considered a Class 5 felony – an offense that could result in between five and 30 years in prison. Selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school comes with even harsher punishments.
You Still Need A Strong Defense Attorney If you Have Been Charged With A Marijuana Crime In Virginia
Even if your cultivation or possession of marijuana meets the criteria of the newly relaxed state laws, you still need to consult with a skilled attorney if you are under investigation or have been charged with a marijuana crime or any drug crime.
I am defense attorney Abraham Del Rio III, a former Virginia magistrate, with keen insights into both the prosecutor’s perspective and a defendant’s point of view in a marijuana case. Call 804-352-0227 or complete a simple online form to schedule a consultation.