While the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes is starting to gain acceptance nationwide, in Virginia the possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana is still illegal. This may go against what some people believe is a harmless drug that should be legalized. But, as of right now, those who possess, cultivate or sell marijuana in Virginia are breaking the law, and will be penalized if convicted on drug charges.
Take the sale of marijuana, for example. While the sale of up to 0.5 ounces of marijuana is only a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, the sale of 0.5 ounces to five pounds of marijuana is a Class 5 felony. A person will be subjected to harsher penalties if they sold marijuana within 1000 feet of a school or if they sold marijuana to a minor.
People facing criminal charges for the sale of marijuana may wonder if there are any defenses they may have at their disposal. As it currently stands, under Virginia law, if a person gives another person marijuana with no intent to get the person hooked on the drug and with no intent of being paid or given something in exchange for the drug, this may lower the penalty if convicted to a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Many people may not see marijuana as much of a danger, and may support its legalization. They may believe it is better to allow marijuana to be legally sold, so that the drug can be regulated, making it safe, and taxed, to the benefit of the state. However, the fact of the matter is that current law has yet to catch up with this viewpoint. The sale of marijuana is a drug crime that violates Virginia law and federal law. It is important that those facing criminal charges such as these develop a criminal defense strategy that may lead to a favorable outcome in their case.
Source: FindLaw, “Virginia Marijuana Laws,” accessed May 6, 2018