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Virginia Marijuana laws

In Virginia, the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal.

Virginia does, however, allow for the limited use of CBD oil, which is derived from the marijuana plant but which contains extremely low amounts of THC (the component that creates the "high"). More specifically, it's illegal for anyone to intentionally or knowingly possess marijuana (including CBD oil) unless it was obtained based on a valid prescription. A written certification that a patient can use CBD oil doesn't necessarily protect them from arrest; instead, it can be used as an affirmative defense in prosecution. Of note, when marijuana is found on property or in a vehicle, there's no presumption that the owner or occupant knowingly or intentionally possessed it.


Virginia Code:

  • Section 18.2-247 (Terms)
  • Section 18.2-248.1 (Penalties for Sale, Gift, Distribution or Possession with Intent to Sell, Give or Distribute Marijuana)
  • Section 18.2-250.1 (Possession of Marijuana Unlawful)
  • Section 18.2-251.1 (Possession or Distribution of Marijuana for Medical Purposes Permitted)
Charges and Penalties for Possession

A first conviction on charges of marijuana possession, a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

Any subsequent conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Charges and Penalties for Sale or Distribution

The charges and penalties for the sale, distribution, or intent to sell or distribute marijuana are as follows:

  • Up to half an ounce of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500;
  • More than half an ounce but 5 pounds or less is a Class 5 felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison OR upon the discretion of a judge or jury punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor; and
  • More than 5 pounds is a felony punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison.
Charges and Penalties for Cultivation

Cultivation or possession with intent to cultivate marijuana (not for their own use) is charged as a felony punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Limited Use of Medicinal Marijuana Permitted

Under The Drug Control Act, certain patients can be prescribed CBD oil. This was originally for those with intractable epilepsy, but was expanded to more conditions in March 2018. Patients must have a written certification from their doctor to legally use CBD oil.

Related Statute(s) Virginia Code Section 18.265.1, et seq. (Drug Paraphernalia)


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