Virginia Marijuana Limitations

What Happens if I am Under 21 and Caught Carrying or Using Cannabis?

A minor in Virginia is not allowed to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume marijuana except for medical reasons where certification has been obtained. Per Section 18.2-250.1 of Virginia Law, possession of marijuana is illegal, but the violation is considered a delinquent act for juveniles (Section 16.1-228 of the Virginia Code) with a maximum fine of $25 and a loss of driving privileges for a period of 6 months.

Juveniles facing their first juvenile drug possession charge are eligible for Virginia's First Offender Program as outlined in the Code of Virginia, Section § 18.2-251. The Program is available for any person who has not been convicted of a criminal drug offense in the past. Juveniles who accept this program may be placed on probation, required to undergo substance abuse screening, education programs, or community service.

The families of the juvenile will be required to pay for all or part of the cost associated with this program which can include potential drug abuse screening, an assessment from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and any additional testing or treatment as required by the Court.

If a juvenile agrees to this program, they must remain drug-free and alcohol-free during probation and submit to random drug tests throughout the probation period. They must also comply with community service requirements. For a misdemeanor, the requirement is up to 24 hours. For a felony, the requirement is up to 100 hours. They must also complete all treatment or education programs required by the supervising probation agency.

Where is it Legal to Smoke Weed in Virginia?

While adult-use marijuana is now legal, residents are not permitted to smoke weed in public places. Smoking weed is only permitted in private. However, Virginia does not prohibit owners of private residences from restricting marijuana use in their apartments. This means that if you reside in an apartment owned by another, you may be restricted from using marijuana in the apartment.

Smoking marijuana or consuming any cannabis product in a moving vehicle, whether you are the driver or a passenger, is still prohibited. Per Virginia marijuana law, possession of cannabis on school grounds or a school bus, possession of an open container of cannabis in a vehicle, and the sharing or offering of cannabis in public is also illegal.

Can I Leave Virginia with Cannabis?

Even though Virginia and about 16 other states have legalized adult-use marijuana, traveling with cannabis across state lines remains an offense. Hence, leaving Virginia with cannabis even if the destination state allows recreational marijuana use, is a violation of federal law. The United States categorizes marijuana as a Schedule I Substance and prohibits interstate travels with the substance.

For medical marijuana users, you need to research the laws in the state you are traveling to. Some states allow for reciprocity, which refers to one state recognizing written recommendations for medical cannabis or medical marijuana cards from another state.

Some states offer reciprocity at the level of possession, meaning that you cannot purchase medical marijuana at their dispensaries, but you can possess medical marijuana without repercussions. Note that this level of reciprocity comes with the assumption that you will be breaking federal laws to cross state lines with your cannabis. Other states offer full reciprocity, meaning that you can get medical marijuana at the state dispensary with your out-of-state card.

Will Cannabis Affect My Driving Record in Virginia?

The punishment for driving under the influence of cannabis in Virginia is quite similar to the penalty for alcohol DUI. A person facing marijuana DUI charges for the first time faces a minimum fine of $250 and having their driver's license suspended for one year. The court may also order a mandatory requirement to attend the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) classes.

For second-time offenders, the fine goes up to $500. The state may also assign the offender a jail sentence of up to one year. The offender's license will be suspended for a minimum of 3 years. A subsequent offense becomes a Class 6 felony. This involves a maximum fine of $2,500, and up to five years in prison. Virginia will also suspend the offender's license indefinitely.

Although the criminal consequences of an impaired or drugged driving include fines, possible jail time, and driver's license suspension, other long-lasting consequences can follow after serving any criminal sentence. A drugged driving conviction will result in a criminal record, a mark on your driving record, and impact your insurance rates for years.

A conviction for DUI will remain on your Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) record for 11 years and will result in the addition of six points to your driving record. This may result in a significant rise in your car insurance premiums for many years after your sentence is completed. You may be required to locate a new insurance provider or pay a higher premium for less coverage.

Can I Get a DUID if I Drive While I am High?

While the penalty for possessing marijuana has been relaxed, the effects of driving under the influence of the drug remain significant. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana considerably impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time. The Institute also references that multiple studies have shown a direct link between blood THC concentration and impaired driving.

When many individuals consider driving under the influence, they only consider alcohol impairment. Driving under the influence of drugs, such as marijuana, can be dangerous. It may impair your driving abilities and lead to severe repercussions.

Unlike alcohol-based DUI charges, no breathalyzer test can be used to prove a person's level of intoxication. In such cases, a blood test will be required to establish that the person arrested was impaired by the THC in marijuana at the time of the arrest. THC is the psychoactive drug inside marijuana that causes intoxication. Per Virginia implied consent laws, a driver in the State automatically agrees to submit to tests for alcohol and drugs if arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Individuals who refuse to submit to blood tests for drugs may be subject to immediate administrative license suspensions for 7 days. In addition, they may be charged with additional offenses of unreasonable refusal, which carries a punishment of one-year loss of driving privileges, without the possibility of earning a restricted license, if convicted. If you are convicted with a DUID in addition to an unreasonable refusal, the loss of license period accumulates for a potential loss of two years for a first DUID conviction and first refusal conviction.

While Virginia has a per se limit for certain drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the state has no such limits for marijuana or testing THC. However, a driver may be arrested because of certain signs noticed by the arresting officer. First, the police must have a reason to pull a driver over. Often, it is for failing to maintain the lane, improper safety equipment, aggressive driving, inconsistent starting and stopping, or maintaining slow or fast speeds. Once there is a reason to pull the driver over, the arresting officer begins to develop probable cause.

A probable cause can be developed in several ways. The arresting officer will question the suspect, asking where the driver has been, where they are going, and if they have consumed marijuana. Depending on the behavior of the driver and passengers and the answers provided, the arresting officer may decide that more investigation is required.

The officer may invite the driver to step out of the car. When the driver comes down, the officer is taking note of the driver's ability to function normally, whether by action, speech, or response to stimuli. The officer will also take notice of any smell. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has a distinct odor. If the officer smells marijuana coupled with other behaviors consistent with marijuana use, probable cause may be developed to arrest the driver for DUID.

As an incident to the arrest, the officer will search the interior of the car and will also charge the driver with possession of marijuana if the product is found. Note that if the police can establish possession, the prosecution may use the incidence as evidence to prove the DUID charge.

The police may also request a blood test to determine if you were impaired by THC (the narcotic found in marijuana) at the time of your arrest. However, this may be difficult since marijuana metabolites can stay in a person's system for weeks after they consume the substance. Prosecutors must demonstrate that there was an active amount of THC in a person's blood, indicating that the individual was under the influence of the drug at the time of the arrest.

The law enforcement officer will take you to a hospital to get your blood taken for a blood test. Law enforcement officials will next transport the blood to a laboratory, where analysts from the Department of Forensic Science will examine the sample and attempt to identify signs of marijuana. The test is performed by a real person who examines the blood for the presence of marijuana in the system. The person will give a certificate that will be acceptable in court to show the quantity of drugs or marijuana in your system at the time of the arrest.

When the police are testing for drugs by the side of the road rather than ingesting them, they will most likely employ the Duquenois-Levine Reagent test, which is a field test that can rapidly determine whether a material is marijuana. However, they often submit marijuana to a lab for testing as well.

Can I Buy Marijuana in Virginia?

You can purchase medicinal marijuana in Virginia now, but retail sales of the product are not expected to begin until 2024. Although it is now legal to possess marijuana within acceptable limits, recreational marijuana cannot be purchased in retail stores until at least January 2024.

Note that only registered medical marijuana patients can visit Virginia medical marijuana dispensaries to purchase medical cannabis products. However, before you may enter any of the dispensaries, you will need to meet with a physician and register with Virginia's medical marijuana program to obtain your medical marijuana card.

Qualified Virginia patients under 18 years of age cannot purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary. A legal guardian or parent is required to apply as a registered agent or caregiver to buy medical marijuana for a minor. All caregivers or registered agents must first register with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy before accessing dispensaries.

Virginia dispensaries typically have cannabis products including:

  • Concentrates: essential oils of the cannabis plant
  • Edibles: Cannabis-infused foods, candies, or drinks
  • Seeds: These are the seeds that you may use to produce your own marijuana plants. Many different strains of Indicas and Sativas will be available in stores.
  • Transdermal Products: This category, often known as topicals, comprises cannabis-infused creams, lotions, massage oils, and other products.
  • Clones: These are healthy seedlings that can be developed into adult marijuana plants.

Where Can I Buy Marijuana in Virginia?

You can purchase medical marijuana from licensed medical dispensaries in Virginia. Virginia legalized medical marijuana in 2015, but it was not until the state legislature passed SB976 in 2020 that a dispensary system was created. The state initially approved five pharmaceutical processors and approved up to 25 dispensing locations in 2020.

For adult-use marijuana, retail sales will take effect on January 1, 2024, allowing time for the regulatory authority – the Cannabis Control Authority, to establish the requisite framework for regulating and overseeing cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail sales.

How Much Is Marijuana in Virginia?

Licensed dispensaries in Virginia do not sell marijuana at the same price. Marijuana products come in varying forms and strains and dispensaries price their own products differently.

According to research by the American Addiction Center, an ounce of high-quality marijuana in Virginia costs $365, while an ounce of medium-quality marijuana costs $311. A gram of medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries costs between $15 - $35 depending on the form of the product.

How Much Cannabis Can I Legally Have?

As on July 1, 2021, adults aged 21 and above in Virginia will be able to legally possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis. A patient may have up to a 90-day supply of cannabis on hand. Currently, a 90-day supply is determined on an individual basis based on the patient's consultation with a recommending practitioner.

The Virginia medicinal cannabis program, according to SB1557, allows certified physician assistants and licensed nurse practitioners to provide written certificates for the use of cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil. The Bill also requires that each dispensed dose of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil not exceed 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol.

Virginia also permits "adult sharing," which means residents above the age of 21 can transfer an ounce or less of marijuana to another resident who is 21-year-old or older as long as it is given as a gift and is not being sold.

Where is Weed Legal?

State Legal Status Medicinal Recreational
Alabama Criminalized No No
Alaska Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arizona Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arkansas Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Colorado Decriminalized Yes Yes
Connecticut Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Delaware Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
District of Columbia Decriminalized Yes Yes
Florida Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Georgia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Hawaii Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Idaho Decriminalized No No
Illinois Decriminalized Yes Yes
Indiana Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Iowa Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Kansas Decriminalized No No
Kentucky Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Louisiana Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Maine Decriminalized Yes Yes
Maryland Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Massachusetts Decriminalized Yes Yes
Michigan Decriminalized Yes Yes
Minnesota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Mississippi Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Missouri Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Montana Decriminalized Yes Yes
Nebraska Decriminalized No Yes
Nevada Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Hampshire Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Jersey Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Mexico Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New York Decriminalized Yes Yes
North Carolina Decriminalized No Yes
North Dakota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Ohio Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Oklahoma Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Oregon Decriminalized Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Rhode Island Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
South Carolina Decriminalized No No
South Dakota Decriminalized Yes Yes
Tennessee Decriminalized No No
Texas Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Utah Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Vermont Decriminalized Yes Yes
Virginia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil Yes
Washington Decriminalized Yes Yes
West Virginia Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Wisconsin Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Wyoming Decriminalized No No
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Virginia Marijuana Limitations