Equal Medicine Organization
US Dispensary

Virginia Marijuana Laws

Penalty Details

Possession

Possession of marijuana is a Class I misdemeanor punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and/or a find of up to $500 for a first offense. A second or subsequent offense is punishable with up to 12 months in jail and/or a up to $2,500 fine. Possession of less than a one half ounce of marijuana is simple possession (possession for personal use).

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §§ 182.248-250
Conditional Release

First time offenders may be placed on probation instead of receiving jail time, if the offender agrees to undergo and pay for a series of drug tests during probation and a drug treatment program. Probation terms may also require up to 24 community service hours for a misdemeanor conviction and up to 100 hours for a felony conviction. The conviction still shows up on the offender’s record as a conviction and applicable driver’s license revocation proceedings are not waived. Violations of the terms of probation can lead to the full penalty as otherwise applicable.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2- 251 (2015)

Sale/Delivery

In VA, having a large quantity of marijuana is not proof of intent to distribute alone. Distributing more than a half-ounce of marijuana, but less than 5 pounds, is a Class 5 felony, punishable by at least one year but not more than 10 years in jail. For a first offense, the judge may use his discretion to sentence the offender to a term in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500.

See

  • Va. Code. Ann. § 18.2-248.1 (2015)

Distributing more than 5 pounds, but less than 100kg., of marijuana is a felony punishable by no less than 5 and no more than 30, years in prison.

See

  • Va. Code. Ann. § 18.2-248.1 (2015)

Distributing more than 100kg of marijuana is punishable with an automatic 20 years to life sentence, with 20 years being the mandatory minimum sentence. This mandatory minimum may be reduced by the judge if:

  1. the person does not have a prior conviction for an drug-related offense;
  2. the person did not use violence or credible threats of violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon in committing the offense and did not convince another participant in the offense to do so;
  3. the offense did not result in death or serious bodily injury to any person;
  4. the person was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense, and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise; and
  5. the offender cooperates with police and judicial officials by providing to the State all information and evidence the person has concerning the offense, but the fact that the person has no relevant or useful other information to provide or that the Commonwealth already is aware of the information shall not preclude a determination by the court that the defendant has complied with this requirement.

A third sale or intent to distribute conviction brings a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2-248 (H) (2015)

Distributing more than 1 ounce of marijuana to any person under 18 years of age who is at least 3 years younger than the offender, or using such a minor to distribute more than 1 ounce of marijuana, is a felony and will be punished with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 5 years, a maximum sentence of 50 years, and a fine of no more than $100,000.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-255 (2015)

Distributing 1 ounce of marijuana or less to any person under 18 years of age who is at least 3 years younger than the offender, or using such a minor to distribute less than 1 ounce of marijuana, is a felony and will be punished with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 2 years, a maximum sentence of 50 years, and a fine of no more than $100,000.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-255 (2015)

Distributing more than a half-ounce of marijuana within 1,000 ft. of a school or school bus stop is a felony, punishable with a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year and a maximum sentence of 5 years, plus a fine not to exceed $100,000. However, if such person proves that he sold such controlled substance or marijuana only as an accommodation to another individual and not with intent to profit thereby, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by confinement in jail for not longer than 12 months and a fine not to exceed $2,500.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-255.2 (2015)
  • Va. Code Ann. § 63.2-100 (2015)
Manufacture

Any person who manufactures marijuana, or possesses marijuana with the intent to manufacture such substance, not for his own use is guilty of a felony punishable by mandatory imprisonment of not less than five, nor more than 30, years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. § 18,2-248.1 (2015)
Trafficking

Transporting 5lbs or more of marijuana into Virginia with the intent to distribute it is a felony, punishable with a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, a maximum sentence of 40 years, and a fine not to exceed $1,000,000. A second or subsequent conviction for the same crime raises the mandatory minimum sentence to 10 years.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-248.01 (2015)

Hash & Concentrates

In Virginia, hashish and concentrates fall under the definition of marijuana as long as they contain less than 12 percent of THC by weight, meaning that the restrictions and penalties associated with marijuana also apply to hashish and concentrates. Hashish oil, falls outside the definition of marijuana and is Schedule I substance. Possessing hashish oil is a Class 5 felony punishable by a term of imprisonment no less than 1 year and no greater than 10 years. For a first offense, the judge or jury may reduce the sentence to a term of imprisonment no greater than 1 year and/or a fine of $2,500.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-247(D)

Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, or give hashish oil is punishable by no less than 5 years and no greater than 40 years imprisonment and a fine no greater than $500,000. A second conviction carries a term of imprisonment no less than 5 years, the mandatory minimum, and up to the remainder of the offender’s life. A third conviction carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for no less than five years and up to the remainder of the offender’s life.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2-248 (C) (2015)

More than 1 ounce of hashish oil into Virginia is a felony, punishable by a no less than 5 years imprisonment and no greater than 40 years, with a minimum term of 3 years and a fine no greater than $1,000,000. A second conviction increases the minimum term of imprisonment to 10 years.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2-248.01 (2015)

Distributing hashish oil to a person under 18 years of age, or using a person under the age of 18 in the distribution of hashish oil is a crime if the minor is 3 years the offenders junior. The crime is punishable by a fine of $100,000 and a term of imprisonment no less than 10 years and no greater than 50 years, with a minimum term of imprisonment of 5 years.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2-255(a) (2015)

Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing hashish oil with intent to sell, give, or distribute hashish oil near certain designated areas is a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment no less than 1 year and no greater than 5 years and/or a fine no greater than $100,000. A second conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment no less than 1 year and no greater than 5 years and/or a fine no greater than $100,000.

The designated areas include:

• all areas open to the public within 1,000 feet of any school or marked child day care facility or school buses; all areas open to the public within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop during hours where the bus stop is in use; public community or recreation centers; public libraries; all areas open to the public within 1,000 feet of a hospital or, out-patient center; or any other state operated medical facility.

See

  • Va Code Ann. §18.2-255.2 (2015)
  • Va Code Ann §37.2-100 (2015)

Any person who sells or possesses with intent to sell drug paraphernalia, knowing that it is either designed for use or intended by such person for use to illegally plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body marijuana is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $2,500.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.2-11- 18.2-265.3 (2015)

Any person eighteen years of age or older who sells drug paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years junior to the accused is guilty of an additional Class 6 felony, which is punishable by not more than 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500.

See

  • Va. Code. Ann § 18.2-265.3 (2015)

Advertising for the sale of drug paraphernalia is a Class I misdemeanor with a punishment of confinement for not more than 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2-265.5 (2015)

Knowingly distributing any printed material the distributor knows contains advertisements for drug paraphernalia is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2-265.5 (2015) 

Miscellaneous

Fortified drug house

Maintaining a fortified drug house is a Class 5 felony, punishable with a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year, and a maximum sentence of 10 years.

See

  • Va. Code Ann. §18.2-258.02 (2015)

Enactment of SB 1091 and HB 2051 in 2017 amends state law so that minor marijuana offenses are no longer punishable by a mandatory driver’s license suspension. Juvenile offenders still face an automatic license suspension for any drug related conviction.

See

  • Virginia SB 1091
  • Virginia SB 2051
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold.

Hemp

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical CBD

This state has passed a medical CBD law allowing for the use of cannabis extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC for any “medical condition” for which a physician recommends it.

Virginia Drugged Driving

In Virginia, it is unlawful for any person to drive or operate a motor vehicle while such person is under the influence of marijuana to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate the motor vehicle safely. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-266 (West 2010).

Implied Consent

  • Any person, whether licensed by Virginia or not, who operates a motor vehicle upon a highway in the Commonwealth shall be deemed thereby as a condition of such operation to have consented to have samples of his blood, breath, or both blood and breath taken for a chemical test to determine the presence of controlled substance. Id. § 18.2-268.2(A).
  • If accused does not wish to submit to chemical testing, no test(s) shall be given. However, such refusal will be in violation of implied consent statutes and subject to penalties. Id. § 18.2-268.3(A).
  • Offender’s first refusal to submit to testing is a civil offense and subsequent violations are criminal offenses. Id. § 18.2-268.3(C).
  • First refusal the court shall suspend the defendant’s privilege to drive for a period of one year. Id.
  • Second refusal (w/i 10 years) refusal is a Class 2 misdemeanor -the court shall suspend the offender’s privilege to drive for a period of three years. Id.
  • Third refusal (w/i 10 years) Class 1 misdemeanor – the court shall suspend the offender’s privilege to drive for a period of three years. Id.
  • A person charged with DUI has no constitutionally guaranteed right to speak with an attorney before submitting to testing. In some cases accused may attempt to contact an attorney, but unreasonable delays, failure to reach attorney or anything else which would frustrate or nullify the intent of the Implied Consent statute will not shield accused from penalties for refusal if accused does not submit to testing — notwithstanding lack of counsel. Coleman v. Com., 187 S.E.2d 172(1972); Deaner v. Com., 170 S.E.2d 199, 204(1969); Law v. City of Danville, 187 S.E.2d 197(1972).
  • Accused does not have a right to choose which test (breath/blood/urine) is to be administered. Virginia Implied Consent statute calls for breath test, but if a breath test is unavailable or an officer suspects impairment by drugs, a blood test may be given. Lamay v. Com.,513 S.E.2d 411(1999).

Penalties

  • First offense class one misdemeanor – mandatory fine of $250; offender is denied the right to drive for one year; as a condition of restoration of driving privileges the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle driven by offender. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-270(A) (West 2010); Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-271(A) (West 2010).
  • Second offense (w/i 5 years) – mandatory minimum fine of $ 500; confinement in jail for not less than one month nor more than one year; twenty days confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence; offender is denied the right to drive for three years; as a condition of restoration of driving privileges the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle driven by offender.18.2-270(B)(1); 18.2-271(B); 18.2-270.1(B)
  • Second offense (w/i 5 to 10 years) – mandatory minimum fine of $ 500; confinement in jail for not less than one month – ten days of such confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence; offender is denied the right to drive for three years; as a condition of restoration of driving privileges the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle driven by offender. 18.2-270(B)(2); 18.2-271(B); 18.2-270.1(B)
  • Third offense (w/i 10 years) class 6 felony – a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days; minimum fine of $1,000; offender’s vehicle is subject to seizure by state; offender’s license is suspended indefinitely; as a condition of restoration of driving privileges the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle driven by offender. 18.2-270(C)(1); 18.2-271(C) 18.2-270.1(B)
  • Third offense (w/i 5 to 10 years) felony – mandatory minimum sentence of confinement for six months; mandatory fine of a $ 1,000; offender’s vehicle is subject to seizure by state; offender’s license is suspended indefinitely; as a condition of restoration of driving privileges the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle driven by offender.18.2-270(C)(1),(3); 18.2-271(C); 18.2-270.1(B)
  • Fourth and subsequent (w/i 10 years) felony – mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year; mandatory minimum fine of $ 1,000; license suspension of up to three years; offender’s vehicle is subject to seizure by state; offender’s license is suspended indefinitely; as a condition of restoration of driving privileges the court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle driven by offender. 18.2-270(C)(2),(3); 18.2-271(C); 18.2-270.1(B).

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • DUI while transporting a person 17 years of age or younger carries an additional minimum fine of $ 500, and a mandatory minimum period of confinement of five days. 18.2-270(D)
  • Mandatory minimum punishments imposed pursuant to this section shall be cumulative, and mandatory minimum terms of confinement shall be served consecutively. However, punishment may not exceed maximum punishment allowed by statute. 18.2-270(F).

Sobriety Checkpoints

In Virginia, sobriety checkpoints are upheld under state and federal Constitution.

Legally executed driving maneuvers which reverse a driver’s course and take driver away from a checkpoint do not justify an investigatory stop, Bass v. Commonwealth, 525 S.E.2d 921 (2000); Murphy v. Commonwealth, 384 S.E. 2d 125 (1989).

However, certain conspicuous avoidance maneuvers which do not fit with the flow of traffic may justify an investigatory stop, Commonwealth v. Eaves, 408 S.E. 2d 925 (1991); Stroud v. Commonwealth, 370 S.E. 2d 721 (1988); Brown v. Commonwealth, 440 S.E, 2d 619 (1994).

Case Law

Coffey v. Com., 116 S.E.2d 257 (1960) — To convict for DUI, prosecution must do more than engender only a suspicion probability of guilt – prosecution may not even leave a hypothesis of innocence.

Oliver v. Com., 577 S.E.2d 514 (2003) — Test results from a breath or blood test are not necessary or required to prove driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; test results are additional proof that can corroborate evidence of the objective symptoms of impairment.

Ngomondjami v. Com., 54 Va.App. 310, 317, 678 S.E.2d 281, 284 (Va.App.,2009) –“‘Operating” a car not only includes the process of moving the vehicle from one place to another, but also includes “starting the engine, or manipulating the mechanical or electrical equipment of the vehicle without actually putting the car in motion. It means engaging the machinery of the vehicle which alone, or in sequence, will activate the motive power of the vehicle.’

Per Se Drugged Driving Laws

Virginia has a per se drugged driving law enacted for controlled substances, not including cannabis or cannabis metabolites. (Virginia State Code, Section 18.2-266)

Virginia’s law took effect in July 2005.

Virginia Hemp Law

Year Passed: 2015
Summary: Senate Bill 955 allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp by licensed growers of industrial hemp as part of a university-managed research program. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is in charge of regulating and establishing industrial hemp research programs by public institutions of higher education. 
Statute: Va. Code. Ann. § 3.2-4112 (2015)