Marijuana law has been in flux recently. In a move that challenges the essence of federal law preempting state law, Colorado, Washington, California, and a growing list of states have legalized recreational marijuana. Other states have decriminalized first-time possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, including nearby Ohio, Maryland, and D.C. In decriminalized states, you can still get a ticket for having a little marijuana, but generally just pay a fine without the prospect of jail time.
Additionally, more than half of the states have legalized medical marijuana, although the implementation of these laws varies by state. West Virginia lawmakers legalized medical marijuana in April of 2017, with implementation of the law expected in 2019 or later.
Drug Classifications and Marijuana
Federal and state controlled substances laws classify drugs from Schedule I (most dangerous) to Schedule V (least dangerous). Supposedly, the drug schedules are determined by the drugs' accepted medical uses and their potential for addiction and harm. However, critics question this classification as politically motivated because marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance alongside heroin and meth. Marijuana (spelled marihuana in the law) is considered a Schedule I drug in West Virginia.
West Virginia Marijuana Laws
The table below outlines the main marijuana laws in West Virginia.
It’s illegal to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana or other controlled substances without a valid prescription in West Virginia.
Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime and can get you 90 days to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. For second or subsequent violations, the penalties double to up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
|Selling or Dealing||
West Virginia prohibits manufacturing (cultivating), delivering, or possessing with the intent to manufacture or deliver marijuana or other drugs.
Dealing marijuana is a felony offense that can be punished by 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. A second offense can be sentenced to double the regular penalties.
|Trafficking or Transporting||
Transporting drugs, including marijuana, into West Virginia with the intent to deliver them to drug dealers or users is illegal.
Trafficking or transporting Mary Jane will get you 1 to 5 years in prison and at most a $15,000 fine.
You can’t sell or possess with the intent to sell drug paraphernalia including anything used to grow, process, or take marijuana, from bongs to pipes to roach clips.
Selling drug paraphernalia can get you six months to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. Again, you can get double penalties for a second or subsequent offense.
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.
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Need Help With a West Virginia Marijuana Case? Contact a Lawyer Today
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a marijuana-related crime, you face a number of possible penalties that could include several years in prison. A skilled defense attorney can help you to evaluate -- and challenge -- any evidence against you and can be your strongest advocate at trial or in any plea negotiations. Reach out to an experienced West Virginia criminal defense lawyer today to learn more.
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