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Virginia Marijuana Laws

Although marijuana is still illegal under federal law, many states now allow for medical use of the herb and some even permit recreational use. There are, of course, various restrictions for its medical or recreational use in states that have made marijuana legal. For instance, many states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana have only legalized it for people who are 21 years of age or older.

In Virginia, the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal. Virginia does, however, allow for the limited use of CBD oil, which is derived from the marijuana plant but which contains extremely low amounts of THC (the component that creates the "high"). More specifically, it's illegal for anyone to intentionally or knowingly possess marijuana (including CBD oil) unless it was obtained based on a valid prescription. A written certification that a patient can use CBD oil doesn't necessarily protect them from arrest; instead, it can be used as an affirmative defense in prosecution. Of note, when marijuana is found on property or in a vehicle, there's no presumption that the owner or occupant knowingly or intentionally possessed it.

Virginia Marijuana Laws at a Glance

Your research into the law should include looking up and reading the actual language of relevant statutes. However, it can also be beneficial to read a summary of the applicable laws in plain English. In the following chart, you can read an overview of Virginia marijuana laws and find links to relevant statutes.


Virginia Code:

Charges and Penalties for Possession

First-time possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is punishable by a $25 civil fine. A bill passed in March 2020 treats this amount of marijuana as a civil infraction and seals the records of these minor, first-time convictions.

Any subsequent conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Charges and Penalties for Sale or Distribution

The charges and penalties for the sale, distribution, or intent to sell or distribute marijuana are as follows:

  • Up to half an ounce of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500;
  • More than half an ounce but 5 pounds or less is a Class 5 felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison OR upon the discretion of a judge or jury punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor; and
  • More than 5 pounds is a felony punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison.
Charges and Penalties for Cultivation

Cultivation or possession with intent to cultivate marijuana (not for their own use) is charged as a felony punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Limited Use of Medicinal Marijuana Permitted

Under The Drug Control Act, certain patients can be prescribed CBD oil. This was originally for those with intractable epilepsy, but was expanded to more conditions in March 2018. Patients must have a written certification from their doctor to legally use CBD oil.

Related Statute(s) Virginia Code Section 18.265.1, et seq. (Drug Paraphernalia)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Virginia Marijuana Laws: Related Resources

For more information related to this topic, please visit the links below.

Charged with Violating Virginia Marijuana Laws? Get Legal Help

Marijuana laws around the country are constantly changing. If you or someone you love has been charged with a marijuana-related crime in Virginia, you'll want to know how the criminal process works, including the maximum penalty you could be facing. The good news is that there are many qualified attorneys in Virginia who can help you. Contact an experienced drug crime attorney in Virginia today to discuss your case and learn about your options moving forward.

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