In line with a nationwide trend towards the legalization of marijuana, new laws were passed in Virginia earlier this year to legalize recreational marijuana use within the state. The new law allows anyone 21 years or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The law is more complicated than that, however, which can lead to confusion — which in turn can lead to criminal prosecution of what may best be considered honest mistakes.
If you use or grow marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, or if you have been charged with illegal sale or possession of marijuana, you need a skilled Virginia criminal defense lawyer on your side. The attorneys at Shannon & Associates, P.C. have handled a wide range of drug-related cases and can help you understand the charges you are facing as well as your constitutional rights. Time is of the essence, so call us at (757) 228-5529 today for a free and confidential consultation.
What Are the Newest Updates to Virginia’s Marijuana Laws?
The latest updates to Virginia’s marijuana laws include the following:
- Adults 21 years and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Anyone under the age of 21 years is prohibited from possessing or using the substance.
- Marijuana can only be consumed and shared with another adult privately. It is illegal to offer or share it with anyone in public or to consume it while in a motor vehicle.
- Adults may grow their own marijuana plants at home, provided they are hidden from public view.
- Buying and selling marijuana is currently illegal.
Why Are Marijuana Laws Being Changed?
Once viewed as a harmful drug that leads to addiction and the use of harder drugs, marijuana is now much more widely accepted as a “soft” drug which also has health benefits. Prohibition of the drug through outdated laws resulted in people being arrested and charged for marijuana possession, even if they were using it responsibly in small amounts. Furthermore, the ACLU found that Black people are four times more likely to be charged with marijuana-related offenses than their white counterparts, despite consuming marijuana at similar rates. Many states, including Virginia, are considering marijuana legalization as a social justice issue as well as a public health one.
What Changes to Marijuana Laws Are Expected in the Future?
Currently, it is illegal to buy or sell marijuana, and the only way to obtain it is to grow it yourself, receive it as a gift from someone who grows it, or to get it as a prescription for medical reasons at a dispensary. A regulated marijuana marketplace is expected to come into effect in Virginia in January, 2024, and will allow adults 21 and older to buy and sell marijuana legally. The marketplace will be overseen by a new state agency specifically created to enforce regulations and promote the positive and responsible use of marijuana within the state.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me If I’ve Been Arrested for a Marijuana-Related Crime?
If you have been arrested for a marijuana-related crime, you are probably concerned about the consequences of a conviction and how this may affect your future. A skilled Virginia marijuana defense attorney thoroughly understands existing drug laws and can effectively defend your rights. At Shannon & Associates, P.C, we know that during this time of uncertainty you need honest answers and realistic expectations. Act quickly, and rest assured that you have experienced lawyers on your side. Call us at (757) 228-5529 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.