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What are the laws governing marijuana in Virginia?

A lot of media attention has been given to marijuana recently. Some states have worked to decriminalize marijuana. It is important to note that Virginia isn't one of those states. In fact, the penalties for crimes associated with marijuana in Virginia can be very serious.

Does Virginia recognize medical marijuana?

Virginia currently doesn't recognize medical marijuana. Just as important is that the federal government still doesn't recognize marijuana as a valid medical drug. This means that possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal on a federal level.

What are the criminal charges associated with marijuana?

There are both state and federal penalties associated with marijuana. The penalties of a conviction related to marijuana depends on the charge and whether the charge is federal or state.

What are the charges and penalties for marijuana possession?

Virginia state law provides for jail sentences up to 30 days and a fine of up to $500 for the misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession. The federal penalties for marijuana possession begins at up to a year in prison for a first offense and up to a $1,000 fine. The penalties for federal convictions increase with each subsequent conviction.

What are the charges and penalties for the sale of marijuana?

Virginia law takes the amount of the marijuana into account for a marijuana sales charge. Up to .5 ounce is classified as a misdemeanor, but more is a felony. Over five pounds of marijuana carries a sentence of five to 30 years in prison. On the federal level, the sale of marijuana can lead to up to five years in prison on the first offense. A life sentence is possible in some cases if you are charged in federal court.

As you can see, even being charged with having marijuana in your possession can lead to serious charges in Virginia. Whether you are facing state charges or federal charges, you should work to understand your defense strategy options for these charges.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Marijuana Laws," accessed Aug. 20, 2015

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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