Virginia Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in Virginia?

No, mailing weed is against the law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance according to federal law. As a result, the state's decriminalization of the drug does not supersede the federal ban. The United States Postal Service, a federal entity subject to federal regulations, will not allow users to mail marijuana and other controlled substances.

It is also unlawful to send cannabis through private mail couriers as it violates several federal regulations, including misuse of the mail, mailing controlled substances, and drug trafficking. Hence, private postal agencies cooperate with federal authorities to avoid violating these laws. Unlike the USPS, private couriers may open questionable shipments without a warrant.

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in Virginia?

Transporting edibles across state lines is a federal violation with varying penalties that depend on multiple factors. The DEA’s Resource Guide states that first-time offenders trafficking less than 5 kilograms face jail time not less than 5 years and up to $250,000.00 in fines. Second-time offenders face a minimum of 10 years in jail and $500,000.00 in fines if the offender is an individual, or $2,000,000.00 otherwise. Violations involving 1,000 kilograms or more attract penalties up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000,000.00. Parties should note that these penalties may become more severe if the violation involves larger quantities, serious bodily injury, or death.

Section 4.1-600 of the state’s Cannabis Control Act defines edibles as marijuana products or concentrates for oral consumption. Edibles may be chocolates, gummies, cookies, or drinks.

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in Virginia

Some strategies an accused person can employ to dismiss drug charges or lessen the severity of the punishments they face include:

Challenging the Evidence Provided

The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the cannabis involved belongs to the accused who intends to sell the drugs. Locating a pile of prohibited substances near an individual does not prove ownership. Similarly, finding drugs in the accused’s car may not sufficiently prove ownership.

Proving Unlawful Arrest

An unlawful arrest is another basis to get marijuana trafficking charges dismissed. Charges may be dismissed if the law enforcement agency that effected the arrest or seizure did not have the required warrant.

Discrediting the Police Witness

This strategy can be effective if the prosecution builds its case based on an informant’s tip. Challenging the informant’s credibility and motive successfully waters down the effect of that informant’s testimony. In some cases, informants supply testimonies influenced by announced bounties.

Apply for the “251” Program

This may apply if the accused successfully beats the trafficking charge to possession. Virginia offers a rehabilitation program established by Section 18.2-251 of the Virginia Code for drug possession offenses. However, persons eligible for this program must be without previous drug charges. Another requirement is that the accused person either pleads guilty to drug possession or pleads no contest. The judge may then permit the accused to enroll in the program, which involves hours of community service, random drug tests, an obligation to maintain employment, and mandatory drug education programs. Charges may be dismissed after successful completion of the program.

Plea Bargain

A plea bargain may be a strategy of last resort. An offender who is sure the prosecution has a solid case can offer information or forfeit assets in exchange for reduced charges with little or no sanctions. The prosecution may lessen or dismiss the charges if the information leads to more arrests and seizures,

Typically, the sentence imposed on offenders depends on the type and quantity of drugs involved. Some drugs have less severe penalties than marijuana, while others have more severe sanctions.

Drug Trafficking Facts in Virginia

Section 18.2-248 of the Virginia Code declares it unlawful to manufacture, sell, give, or possess with the intent to distribute or sell, varying amounts of cannabis and other controlled substances. On the other hand, Section 18.2-248.01 prohibits importing specific amounts of marijuana and other controlled substances into the state with the intent to sell or distribute.

Also, Section 18.2-248.1 of the Virginia Code makes it a misdemeanor to sell, give, or possess with the intent to distribute, not more than one ounce of cannabis. Dealing with any amount more is a felony.

Section 841 of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) makes it a felony to manufacture, dispense, or possess with the intent to distribute varying amounts of controlled substances. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enforces the CSA and collaborates with local law enforcement agencies at the state level.

In 2020, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported over 1,400 drug overdose deaths, representing a 17% increase from 2019. In its 2019 annual report, the Virginia State Police stated that it made over 1,900 drug-related arrests and seized over 4,000 marijuana plants. The total value of the cannabis captured that year was over $12,400,000.00.

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in Virginia?

Different portions of the Virginia Code contain legislation governing the state’s drug trade. For example, Section 18.2-248.01 of the Virginia Code makes it unlawful to import at least 5 pounds of marijuana into the Commonwealth with the intent to sell or distribute. Section 18.2-248 makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, distribute, or possess with the intent to distribute at least 100 kilograms of cannabis. In addition, Section 18.2-248.1 prohibits the sale, distribution, or possession with the intent to distribute varying amounts of cannabis.

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in Virginia?

According to Section 18.2-248.01, importing five or more pounds of cannabis into the Commonwealth with the intent to sell or distribute constitutes a felony. The recommended punishment for this offense is a prison term of at least five years, with three years as a mandatory minimum. Additionally, the offender must pay up to $1,000,000.00 in fines. A second conviction for this offense brings harsher sanctions.

Section 18.2-248 of the Virginia Codes also prescribes other sanctions for persons guilty of manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with the intent to distribute, varying amounts of cannabis. Virginia law provides the following penalties:

  • At least 100 kilograms: Minimum of 20 years in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.00.
  • 100 to 250 kilograms: 20 years to life in jail and up to $1,000,000.00 in fines.
  • At least 250 kilograms: The law recommends life imprisonment and fines not exceeding $1,000,000.00.

However, the court may impose less severe sanctions in the following circumstances:

  • No prior convictions
  • No violence or firearm use
  • No bodily injury or death
  • Offender is not a criminal enterprise leader
  • Offender fully cooperates with law enforcement

How to Transport Weed Legally in Virginia

Rules guiding the transportation of recreational marijuana are still under review since Virginia has not enacted its recreational cannabis law as of 2024. However, there are dispensaries where patients in the state’s medical marijuana program can purchase medical cannabis. Section 54.1-3442.6 of the Virginia Code authorizes registered pharmaceutical processors and cannabis dispensing facilities to transport and supply cannabis to patients or their caregivers.

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