• Jennifer Betz

Is Marijuana Decriminalized in Virginia?


Marijuana is decriminalized in Virginia, but there are still consequences for possessing it illegally.


Though progress may seem painfully slow for proponents of cannabis legalization in Virginia, the plant has certainly come a long way in the last couple of years. More relaxed laws are on their way, including an adult-use legalization bill awaiting the green light from Governor Northam.


Unfortunately, as the bill is currently written, marijuana possession will still be illegal in Virginia until 2024. For right now, you need to have a valid Virginia medical marijuana card and make all your purchases from a licensed Virginia or DC medical marijuana dispensary in order to avoid potential legal trouble.


Let’s take a closer look at what marijuana decriminalization in Virginia means for residents of the state in 2021.


How Does Decriminalization Protect Me if I Get Caught With Marijuana in Virginia?

Before marijuana was decriminalized in Virginia in 2020, getting caught with marijuana could result in jail time, loss of your driver’s license, and hefty fines. Now, it is still illegal to possess marijuana, but you will not be charged with a crime if you are caught with an ounce or less.


Instead, you will be fined $25 for having marijuana, your car may be searched if you were driving, and your product could be confiscated. Punishment does not get more severe for repeated offenses. You will simply face the same consequences each time, as long as you only have an ounce or less.


Will Getting Caught With Marijuana in Virginia Go On My Record?

It depends. Getting caught with an ounce or less of marijuana is no longer a crime in Virginia, so it will not go on your criminal record. However, marijuana laws in Virginia are fully in effect for all other cases.


You could face up to 40 years in prison for various crimes related to marijuana, including growing, distributing, and having amounts larger than one ounce. Unfortunately, many of the consequences for these offenses vary depending on the county you live in, the surrounding circumstances, and even the individual enforcement officers involved in the initial contact.


When Will Possessing Marijuana No Longer Be a Crime In Virginia?

Currently, you can legally possess medical marijuana in Virginia if you have a valid Virginia marijuana card. Anyone who has a qualifying condition can talk to a doctor and get a marijuana card that allows them to make purchases at Virginia dispensaries.


There is an adult-use legalization bill awaiting the governor’s signature, but possession legalization will still not take effect until 2024 as things are right now. Governor Northam is currently looking at ways to speed up the process, and tensions are high between proponents of the law and those who object.


How Can I Protect My Access to Medical Marijuana In Virginia?

The best way to protect yourself legally in Virginia is to get a medical marijuana card. There are a number of conditions that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana, including anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain. Once you have a Virginia marijuana card, you can shop at any licensed dispensary in Virginia or DC.


Our doctors at Virginia Marijuana Card can help you find the best way to move forward for your treatment needs. We are here to help! Just give us a call at (888) 633-5808, or schedule an evaluation appointment online today!


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