Virginia Marijuana Legalization Laws

Effective July 1, 2021

   

§ 4.1-1100. Possession, etc., of marijuana and marijuana products by persons 21 years of age or older lawful; penalties.

A. Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person 21 years of age or older may lawfully possess on his person or in any public place not more than one ounce of marijuana or an equivalent amount of marijuana product as determined by regulation promulgated by the Board.

B. Any person who possesses on his person or in any public place marijuana or marijuana products in excess of the amounts set forth in subsection A is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25. The penalty for any violations of this section by an adult shall be prepayable according to the procedures in § 16.1-69.40:2.

C. With the exception of a licensee in the course of his duties related to such licensee's marijuana establishment, any person who possesses on his person or in any public place more than one pound of marijuana or an equivalent amount of marijuana product as determined by regulation promulgated by the Board is guilty of a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years and a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to members of federal, state, county, city, or town law- enforcement agencies, jail officers, or correctional officers, as defined in § 53.1-1, certified as handlers of dogs trained in the detection of controlled substances when possession of marijuana is necessary for the performance of their duties.

§ 4.1-1101. Home cultivation of marijuana for personal use; penalties.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision c of § 18.2-248.1, a person 21 years of age or older may cultivate up to four marijuana plants for personal use at their place of residence; however, at no point shall a household contain more than four marijuana plants. For purposes of this section, a "household" means those individuals, whether related or not, who live in the same house or other place of residence.

A person may only cultivate marijuana plants pursuant to this section at such person's main place of residence.

B. A person who cultivates marijuana for personal use pursuant to this section shall:

  1. Ensure that no marijuana plant is visible from a public way without the use of aircraft, binoculars, or other optical aids;
  2. Take precautions to prevent unauthorized access by persons younger than 21 years of age; and
  3. Attach to each marijuana plant a legible tag that includes the person's name, driver's license or identification number, and a notation that the marijuana plant is being grown for personal use as authorized under this section.

 

C. A person shall not manufacture marijuana concentrate from home-cultivated marijuana. The owner of a property or parcel or tract of land may not intentionally or knowingly allow another person to manufacture marijuana concentrate from home-cultivated marijuana within or on that property or land.

D. The following penalties or punishments shall be imposed on any person convicted of a violation of this section:

  1. For possession of more than four marijuana plants but no more than 10 marijuana plants, (i) a civil penalty of $250 for a first offense, (ii) a Class 3 misdemeanor for a second offense, and (iii) a Class 2 misdemeanor for a third and any subsequent offense;
  2. For possession of more than 10 but no more than 49 marijuana plants, a Class 1 misdemeanor;
  3. For possession of more than 49 but no more than 100 marijuana plants, a Class 6 felony; and
  4. For possession of more than 100 marijuana plants, a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years and a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.   

 

§ 4.1-1101.1. Adult sharing of marijuana.

A. For the purposes of this section, "adult sharing" means transferring marijuana between persons who are 21 years of age or older without remuneration. "Adult sharing" does not include instances in which (i) marijuana is given away contemporaneously with another reciprocal transaction between the same parties; (ii) a gift of marijuana is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services; or (iii) a gift of marijuana is contingent upon a separate reciprocal transaction for goods or services.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 18.2-248.1, no civil or criminal penalty may be imposed for adult sharing of an amount of marijuana that does not exceed one ounce or of an equivalent amount of marijuana products.

§ 4.1-1105.1. Possession of marijuana or marijuana products unlawful in certain cases; venue; exceptions; penalties; treatment and education programs and services.

A. No person younger than 21 years of age shall consume or possess, or attempt to consume or possess, any marijuana or marijuana products, except by any federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer or his agent when possession of marijuana or marijuana products is necessary in the performance of his duties. Such person may be prosecuted either in the county or city in which the marijuana or marijuana products were possessed or consumed or in the county or city in which the person exhibits evidence of physical indicia of consumption of marijuana or marijuana products.

B. Any person 18 years of age or older who violates subsection A is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25 and shall be ordered to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program or both, if available, that in the opinion of the court best suits the needs of the accused.

C. Any juvenile who violates subsection A is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25 and the court shall require the accused to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program or both, if available, that in the opinion of the court best suits the needs of the accused. For purposes of §§ 16.1-266, 16.1-273, 16.1-278.8, 16.1-278.8:01, and 16.1-278.9, the court shall treat the child as delinquent.

D. Any such substance abuse treatment or education program to which a person is ordered pursuant to this section shall be provided by (i) a program licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or (ii) a program or services made available through a community-based probation services agency established pursuant to Article 9 (§ 9.1-173 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 9.1, if one has been established for the locality. When an offender is ordered to a local community-based probation services agency, the local community-based probation services agency shall be responsible for providing for services or referring the offender to education or treatment services as a condition of probation.

E. Any civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Drug Offender Assessment and Treatment Fund established pursuant to § 18.2-251.02.

§ 4.1-1107. Using or consuming marijuana or marijuana products while in a motor vehicle being driven upon a public highway; penalty.

A. For the purposes of this section:

"Open container" means any vessel containing marijuana or marijuana products, except the originally sealed manufacturer's container.

"Passenger area" means the area designed to seat the driver of any motor vehicle, any area within the reach of the driver, including an unlocked glove compartment, and the area designed to seat passengers. "Passenger area" does not include the trunk of any passenger vehicle; the area behind the last upright seat of a passenger van, station wagon, hatchback, sport utility vehicle or any similar vehicle; the living quarters of a motor home; or the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxi, or limousine, while engaged in the transportation of such persons.

B. It is unlawful for any person to use or consume marijuana or marijuana products while driving a motor vehicle upon a public highway of the Commonwealth or while being a passenger in a motor vehicle being driven upon a public highway of the Commonwealth.

C. A judge or jury may make a permissive inference that a person has consumed marijuana or marijuana products in violation of this section if (i) an open container is located within the passenger area of the motor vehicle, (ii) the marijuana or marijuana products in the open container have been at least partially removed and (iii) the appearance, conduct, speech, or other physical characteristic of such person, excluding odor, is consistent with the consumption of marijuana or marijuana products. Such person may be prosecuted either in the county or city in which the marijuana was used or consumed, or in the county or city in which the person exhibits evidence of physical indicia of use or consumption of marijuana.

D. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

§ 4.1-1108. Consuming marijuana or marijuana products, or offering to another, in public place; penalty.

A. No person shall consume marijuana or a marijuana product or offer marijuana or a marijuana product to another, whether accepted or not, at or in any public place.

B. Any person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25 for a first offense. A person who is convicted under this section of a second offense is subject to a $25 civil penalty and shall be ordered to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program or both, if available, that in the opinion of the court best suits the needs of the accused. A person convicted under this section of a third or subsequent offense is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

§ 4.1-1109. Consuming or possessing marijuana or marijuana products in or on public school grounds; penalty.

A. No person shall possess or consume any marijuana or marijuana product in or upon the grounds of any public elementary or secondary school during school hours or school or student activities.

B. In addition, no person shall consume and no organization shall serve any marijuana or marijuana products in or upon the grounds of any public elementary or secondary school after school hours or school or student activities.

C. Any person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

§ 4.1-1110. Possessing or consuming marijuana or marijuana products while operating a school bus; penalty.

Any person who possesses or consumes marijuana or marijuana products while operating a school bus and transporting children is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. For the purposes of this section, "school bus" has the same meaning as provided in § 46.2-100.

§ 4.1-1112. Limitation on carrying marijuana or marijuana products in motor vehicle transporting passengers for hire; penalty.

The transportation of marijuana or marijuana products in any motor vehicle that is being used, or is licensed, for the transportation of passengers for hire is prohibited, except when carried in the possession of a passenger who is being transported for compensation at the regular rate and fare charged other passengers.

Any person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

§ 4.1-1302. Search without warrant; odor of marijuana.

A. No law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, may lawfully stop, search, or seize any person, place, or thing and no search warrant may be issued solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana and no evidence discovered or obtained pursuant to a violation of this subsection, including evidence discovered or obtained with the person's consent, shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall not apply in any airport as defined in § 5.1-1 or if the violation occurs in a commercial motor vehicle as defined in § 46.2-341.4.

§ 46.2-341.20:7. Possession of marijuana in commercial motor vehicle unlawful; civil penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in a commercial motor vehicle as defined in § 46.2-341.4. The attorney for the Commonwealth or the county, city, or town attorney may prosecute such a case.

Upon the prosecution of a person for a violation of this section, ownership or occupancy of the vehicle in which marijuana was found shall not create a presumption that such person either knowingly or intentionally possessed such marijuana.

Any person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25. A violation of this section is a civil offence. Any civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Drug Offender Assessment and Treatment Fund established pursuant to § 18.2-251.02. Violations of this section by an adult shall be prepayable according to the procedures in § 16.1-69.40:2.

B. Any violation of this section shall be charged by summons. A summons for a violation of this section may be executed by a law-enforcement officer when such violation is observed by such officer. The summons used by a law-enforcement officer pursuant to this section shall be in form the same as the uniform summons for motor vehicle law violations as prescribed pursuant to § 46.2-388. No court costs shall be assessed for violations of this section. A person's criminal history record information as defined in § 9.1-101 shall not include records of any charges or judgments for a violation of this section, and records of such charges or judgments shall not be reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange; however, such violation shall be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and shall be included on such individual's driving record.

C. The procedure for appeal and trial of any violation of this section shall be the same as provided by law for misdemeanors; if requested by either party on appeal to the circuit court, trial by jury shall be as provided in Article 4 (§ 19.2-260 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 19.2, and the Commonwealth shall be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to members of state, federal, county, city, or town law- enforcement agencies, jail officers, or correctional officers, as defined in § 53.1-1, certified as handlers of dogs trained in the detection of controlled substances when possession of marijuana is necessary for the performance of their duties.

E. The provisions of this section involving marijuana in the form of cannabis oil as that term is defined in § 54.1-3408.3 shall not apply to any person who possesses such oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner in the course of his professional practice pursuant to § 54.1-3408.3 for treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of (i) the person's diagnosed condition or disease, (ii) if such person is the parent or guardian of a minor or of an incapacitated adult as defined in § 18.2-369, such minor's or incapacitated adult's diagnosed condition or disease, or (iii) if such person has been designated as a registered agent pursuant to § 54.1-3408.3, the diagnosed condition or disease of his principal or, if the principal is the parent or legal guardian of a minor or of an incapacitated adult as defined in § 18.2-369, such minor's or incapacitated adult's diagnosed condition or disease.

*Current penalties for sale/distribution of marijuana remain in place until legal sales begin in 2024.

Misdemeanor Possession With Intent to Distribute records sealed from public view in State Police’s Database

  • Not sealed in court systems or 3rd party systems
  • Automatic expungement will occur in 2025 after agencies make system updates

 

§ 2.2-2499.1. Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board. 

 

§ 2.2-2499.4. Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund.

  • Board can begin developing the programs that will be used to distribute the Fund, e.g. scholarship and grant criteria.

 

§4.1-600-28 Cannabis Control Authority.

  • CEO & Board appointed
  • Can begin work of standing-up authority (hiring staff; signing leases; etc.)

 

§4.1-603-04 Public Health Advisory Council.

 

§ 4.1-1501. Virginia Cannabis Equity Business Loan Fund.

 

§ 4.1-1502. Selection of CDFI; Program requirements; guidelines for management of the Fund. (Virginia Cannabis Equity Business Loan Program)

 

Enactment Clause 10; 22 Cannabis Oversight Commission.

  • Composed of 10 General Assembly members to oversee the CCA startup process
  • Lasts until Jan. 1, 2024

 

Effective November 1, 2021

   

Enactment Clause 17 Executive Work Group

  • Develop a plan for collecting marijuana-related data regarding, including hospital visits; impaired driving; use and treatment rates; disproportionate impacts of legalization

 

Enactment Clause 19

  • Secretary of Education develops reports on marijuana-related curriculum and resources for teachers and colleges

 

Enactment Clause 24

  • Office of the Executive Secretary reports on number of civil offenses committed and civil penalties imposed for violations of §18.2-250.1

 

Enactment Clause 25

  • JLARC reports on comparison of SB1406/HB2312 to its recommendations from 2020 Report on Marijuana Legalization

 

Effective on or before July 1, 2025

 

§ 19.2-392.2:1. Former marijuana offenses; automatic expungement.

A. Records relating to the arrest, criminal charge, conviction, or civil offense of a person for a misdemeanor violation of former § 18.2-248.1 or a violation of former § 18.2-250.1, including any violation charged under either section and the charge was deferred and dismissed, shall be ordered to be automatically expunged in accordance with the provisions of this section.

B. No later than July 1, 2025, the Department of State Police shall determine which offenses in the Central Criminal Records Exchange meet the criteria for automatic expungement set forth in subsection A. The Department of State Police shall provide an electronic list of all offenses that meet the criteria for automatic expungement to the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and to any circuit court clerk who maintains a case management system that interfaces with the Department of State Police under subsection B of § 17.1-502.

  • Automatic Expungements of Records of Simple Possession and Misdemeanor Possession with Intent to Distribute

 

§ 19.2-392.2:2. Former marijuana offenses; petition for expungement.

A. A person who has been convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a felony violation of former § 18.2-248.1 or a violation of subsection A of § 18.2-265.3 as it relates to marijuana, or charged under either section and the charge is deferred and dismissed, may file a petition setting forth the relevant facts and requesting expungement of the police records and the court records relating to the arrest, charge, conviction, or adjudication.

  • Petition-based Expungement of Records for Felony Possession with Intent to Distribute and Paraphernalia