Virginia Marijuana Arrests


Crime in Virginia 2022
1,560 marijuana arrests
37% decrease from 2021
see data here

Crime in Virginia 2021
2,466 marijuana arrests
82% decrease from 2020
49% were age 24 or younger
15% of all drug arrests

Crime in Virginia 2020
13,674 marijuana arrests
48% decrease from 2019
50% were age 24 or younger
46% of all drug arrests

Crime in Virginia 2019
26,470 marijuana arrests
8% decrease from 2018
50% were age 24 or younger

Crime in Virginia 2018 
28,866 marijuana arrests
3.5% increase from 2017
59% of all drug arrests

Crime in Virginia 2017
27,852 marijuana arrests
22% increase from 2016
70% of all drug arrests

Crime in Virginia 2016 
21,637 marijuana arrests

Cato Institute reports Virginia spent $81.2M enforcing marijuana prohibition in 2016. Based on this number, spending for 2017 and 2018 is estimated to have been over $100M in each year.

Illicit Market


Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Virginia's illicit market will grow to $2.4B in 2023, according to New Frontier Data.

Leafly reports, data from New Frontier Data’s U.S. Cannabis Report notes that the Virginia illicit market ranked fourth largest in the nation, encompassing roughly $1.8 billion of the U.S.' estimated $60 billion total 2020 sales. That compares to around $23 billion in legal medical and adult-use cannabis sales. Leafly’s 2020 jobs report estimated the size of the legal American cannabis market at around $14 billion.

Racial Disparity in Marijuana Enforcement in Virginia

Black people are 3.4x more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia despite similar usage rates

A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform ACLU

Marijuana Arrests by Locality 2010-2016, VCU Capital News Service
Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests 2003-2013, Drug Policy Alliance

2020 Virginia Adult-use Legalization Reports

Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group
Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group Meeting Minutes & Video
Governor Northam's Marijuana Legalization Report
JLARC Study: Key Considerations for Marijuana Legalization

2017 Virginia Decriminalization Reports

Virginia Marijuana Decriminalization Report
Virginia Marijuana Decriminalization Study

Virginia Polling

Polling shows Virginians, like Americans, overwhelmingly support marijuana policy reform, including regulating adult-use, decriminalizing personal possession to fines not crimes, and doctor-recommended medical marijuana.

Christopher Newport University February 2021 
68% of Virginia voters including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, support "the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults in Virginia

Gallup Legalization Poll November 2020 
68% of Americans including majorities of all age groups, believe that the use of "marijuana should be made legal”

Christopher Newport University December 2019
83% Virginians support decriminalization

POLITICO and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health November 2019
62% of Americans endorsed legalization
69% of Americans support allowing state-licensed marijuana stores

Gallup October 2019
66% of Americans support making marijuana use legal in the United States

Public Religion Research Institute Fall 2019
67% of Americans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use

University Mary Washington September 2019
61% of Virginians support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults

Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP August 2019
63% of Americans say that marijuana should be legal nationwide

Quinnipiac University March 2019
66% of Americans say "the use of marijuana should be made legal” nationwide
63% Americans support erasing criminal records for past marijuana possession crimes

Gallup October 2018
66% Americans support legalized adult-use

Christopher Newport University February 2018
76% Virginians support decriminalization

Quinnipiac April 2017
59% Virginians support legalized adult-use
92% Virginians support physician-authorized medical-use

Quinnipiac February 2017
93% Americans support doctor-recommend medical cannabis
71% Americans support states setting marijuana policy without federal interference
59% Americans support legalized adult-use

Gallup October 2016
60% Americans support legalized adult-use