Virginia Marijuana Possession Laws

Is Possession of Marijuana Legal in Virginia?

Possession of marijuana is legal for anyone 21 years or older in Virginiavper the Cannabis Control Act (Va. Code. § 4.1-1100).

The Act makes it legal for adults aged over 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. However, it is illegal to exchange marijuana for a value. In addition to possessing and sharing marijuana in Virginia, the law permits adults 21 or older to plant marijuana in their homes, provided they adhere to the conditions therein. 

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority controls the possession, sale, distribution, transportation, and delivery of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products in Virginia.

How Much Weed Is a Felony in Virginia?

Although weed is legal in Virginia, there are restrictions, and non-compliance may result in a felony, which attracts penalties.

  • Possessing more than one pound (lb) of marijuana in Virginia is a felony punishable by between one to 10 years imprisonment. The court may also impose fines of up to $250,000. 
  • Anyone who cultivates over 49 or up to 100 marijuana plants in Virginia commits a Class 6 felony.
  • Cultivation of over 100 marijuana plants is a felony and punishable by between one to 10 years in jail. The court may also impose fines to the tune of $250,000 (Va. Code. § 4.1-1101). 
  • It is unlawful to sell, give, distribute, or possess with intent to sell, give, or distribute marijuana in Virginia. Anyone who violates the law with between one ounce and five pounds of marijuana has committed a Class 5 felony. Also, violators with over five pounds of marijuana have committed felonies punishable by between five and 30 years of imprisonment. 
  • Manufacturing marijuana or possessing marijuana with intent to manufacture it for the use of other persons is also a felony. This is punishable with five to 30 years imprisonment, no more than a $10,000 fine, or both (Va. Code. § 18.2-248.1)
  • Distributing over 5 pounds but less than 100kg of marijuana also qualifies as a felony. The penalty is between 5 to 30 years of imprisonment. 
  • Transporting 5 pounds of marijuana into Virginia with the intent to distribute it is a felony. This is punishable by a minimum sentence of 5 years and maximum of 40 years, and a maximum fine of $1,000,000 (Va. Code. § 18.2-248.01). 

What Are the Penalties for 1st Time Offense of Possession of Weed in Virginia

In Virginia, the penalties for a 1st-time offense of possession of weed in Virginia range from probation to assessment treatment (Va. Code. § 4.1-1120). 

A first-time violation of weed possession is a civil infraction and may require a $25 fine. The court may place the first-time offender on probation upon terms and conditions. Under the situation, the court may ask that the accused undergo a substance abuse assessment and enter an education program or treatment (Va. Code. § 19.2-299.2). 

Depending on the court's opinion, the person may be asked to combine both. Under the law, the education program or services shall be provided by: 

Moreso, the accused will be required to bear the cost of the program, assessment, testing, treatment, and screening. However, the subject may be exempted from paying at the court's discretion that such is poor. While the court will dismiss the charges if all conditions are met, violating the terms of the condition will result in an adjudication of guilt. 

Where to Buy Legal Weed in Virginia

Medical marijuana patients can buy weed from any of the four licensed dispensaries in Virginia. Currently, the licensed dispensaries in Virginia are Dharma Pharmaceuticals in Abingdon, Columbia Care Eastern Virginia, Green Leaf Medical of Virginia, and Richmond and Dalitso. 

Patients who wish to purchase medical marijuana must have a medical marijuana card. To get a medical marijuana card in Virginia, interested persons need to register an account with the Department of Health Professions (DHP). 

On the other hand, there is nowhere to legally buy recreational weed in Virginia, as retail sales do not begin until January 1, 2024. The state government is working on setting rules and regulations that will guide the buying and selling of cannabis. Also, the authority plans to set up the Cannabis Control Authority to enforce laid-down rules. 

As it remains illegal to sell marijuana in Virginia, there is no means to buy it. When Virginia begins the legal selling of weed, only adults over 21 years of age will be permitted to purchase legal weed in the state.  

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy Weed in Virginia

Virginia residents must be 21 years or older to buy weed in Virginia. At age 21 or above, a person can possess and smoke marijuana privately at home. Also, the individual can share weed among adults of the same age and over. However, anyone below age 21 caught in possession of marijuana may face up to $21 in fines. The court may also order them to undergo a drug education or treatment program. 

How Much Weed Can You Carry in Virginia?

A permitted adult in Virginia can carry up to one ounce or 28 grams of weed in public. Also, the law permits owning up to four mature marijuana plants per household.

What Happens if You Get Caught With Weed Under 18 in Virginia?

Anyone under 18 caught with weed in Virginia may be subjected to pay a fine and enter a substance abuse program (Va. Code. § 16.1-278.8:01). 

As a first offender, the person is found delinquent of the offense, and the Virginia Juvenile Court or Circuit Court will demand that the juvenile undergo a substance abuse screening. The person will also need to submit periodic substance abuse testing, including alcohol testing. 

The juvenile may be required to take an education program for substance abuse, depending on the results of the substance abuse screening. 

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Have in Virginia?

Up to four plants. Adults 21 and older in Virginia can legally grow up to four marijuana plants in Virginia. However, the four plants are per household and not per individual. Therefore, regardless of the number of adults living there, each house may only have four plants. Under Virginia law, there are certain limitations to planning marijuana.

  • The plants must not be visible to the public. 
  • The plants must not be accessible to anyone under the age of 21. 
  • Each plant must be tagged with the name of the owner, driver's license or state ID number, and a notation that the marijuana is for personal use. 

Failure to attach a tag, prevent minors from accessing the plant, or keep it away from public eyes attracts a fine of $25 for each offense. Also, growing more than four plants is a civil offense punishable by a $250 fine for the first offense.

Cultivating more than 4 marijuana plants up to 10 as a second offender may be subject to a $500 penalty. Meanwhile, a third subsequent offender may face up to six months imprisonment and $1,000 in fines. 

Furthermore, owning over 10 marijuana plants, up to 49 plants, is punishable by a 12 months jail term and a $2,500 fine. Anyone that grows over 49 plants to 100 plants has committed a felony and may serve between one to five years imprisonment and pay a $2,500 fine. Also, cultivating more than 100 marijuana plants is a felony in Virginia, punishable by a one to 10 years jail term and a $250,000 fine. 

How Much Weed Can You Fly With from Virginia?

Although weed in the appropriate quantity is legal in Virginia, it remains illegal under federal law. Nevertheless, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits passengers to carry marijuana products that only contain less than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry weight basis.

Is It Illegal to Be High in Public in Virginia?

No, it is not illegal to be high in public in Virginia as it may not be a crime. However, factors that can make being high in public in Virginia illegal include if the person is caught possessing marijuana. 

Additionally, driving while stoned in Virginia may be considered driving under the influence (DUI). Virginia DUI law states that driving or operating a motor vehicle, engine, or train is unlawful while under the influence of weed (Va. Code. § 18.2-266). 

Another indicator of weed consumption while driving is the presence of an "open container.” Hence, the open container should not be within the driver’s reach, such as on the dashboard and passenger seat. The best alternative is to keep marijuana in the trunk while driving. 

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