As more U.S. states, including Virginia, move to legalize marijuana for recreational use, laws around the use, possession, sale, and transfer of marijuana are rapidly changing. However, Virginia’s new cannabis law is somewhat complex and confusing. This can cause cannabis users who make genuine mistakes to be criminally prosecuted.
If you were charged with illegal possession or sale of marijuana in Virginia, contact the Virginia Beach criminal defense attorneys at Pincus Goodman P.C. to discuss your case and legal options. Our lawyers are intimately familiar with the most up-to-date laws related to marijuana use in the Commonwealth, and we have the resources to help you fight the charges against you. Contact us at 757-301-9634 for a free consultation.
What Are the Most Recent Updates to the Law?
Virginia became the first state in the southern United States to legalize marijuana in April of 2021. The law, which went into effect on July 1, 2021, permits adults who are 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for private use.
Cannabis can be used in private residences, and adults aged 21 and over can also grow up to four marijuana plants in their household. It is also now legal for adults who are 21 and over to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana between themselves. This is known as adult sharing.
It is illegal to possess more than one ounce of marijuana, though the civil penalty is low ($25) as long as you don’t possess more than one pound. Possession of more than one pound of marijuana is a felony charge. It is still illegal for anyone under age 21 to possess any amount of marijuana.
It is also unlawful to possess marijuana on school grounds and to use marijuana while operating a motor vehicle, a school bus, or a commercial vehicle. Consuming or transferring marijuana in a public place remains a crime.
Perhaps one of the most complicated aspects of the legislation is that it remains against the law to sell or distribute marijuana or to possess marijuana with the intent to sell it. It is also illegal for a business to “gift” marijuana along with products and services they sell.
When Will It Be Legal to Sell Marijuana in Virginia?
When the law was initially passed, retail sales of marijuana were not set to begin until 2024 to give the state time to set up the infrastructure for a regulated adult-use marketplace. However, there is a provision in the initial law stating that the General Assembly must reenact various facets of the legislation in 2022, which means the law could ultimately undergo significant changes.
Given that Republicans control the House while Democrats control the Senate, the final outcome of the law is uncertain. According to the Washington Post, Republicans are likely on board with the reenactment, but legislators still have a lot of work to do before marijuana laws are finalized, and the marketplace is set up.
Contact Pincus Goodman P.C. Today
At Pincus Goodman P.C., we understand that Virginia’s marijuana legalization law can be confusing, especially considering there are many issues that still haven’t been worked out, such as the sale and purchase of cannabis products in the state.
If you’ve been charged with a marijuana-related crime in Virginia Beach, you will need experienced legal representation to bring a successful defense. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys might be able to help you seek a reduction in the charges or even a case dismissal. We’re also here to answer any legal questions you may have related to marijuana use and possession in the state.
Contact Pincus Goodman P.C. today to discuss your situation in a free consultation. Call 757-301-9634 now.