Drug policy of Virginia
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Virginia General Assembly tightened the laws on cannabis and added a provision allowing its use and distribution for cancer and glaucoma. There is currently a provision in the law, § 18.2-251, which allows a case to be dismissed if the offender goes through probation and treatment. However, those who get the "251" disposition are still subject to a mandatory six-month driver's license suspension; this penalty was imposed in response to the Solomon-Lautenberg amendment. In the 1990s, Virginia had some of the lightest penalties for cultivation in the United States; cultivation of any amount for personal use counted as simple possession (otherwise it carried felony penalties of up to 35 years imprisonment). In at least one case, a defendant with a massive grow operation of several hundred plants testified that it was all for his own use and a jury handed down a conviction for possession only. Possession is currently an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first-time offense. A second offense is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and a $2500 fine.
In 2015, the Virginia Senate's Courts of Justice committee rejected bills to decriminalize cannabis and remove the smoke a joint, lose your license provision in the Virginia Code. A bill passed the Virginia House of Delegates that would make it an affirmative defense against a possession charge that cannabidiol oil (also known as CBD) and THC-A oil were for treatment of epilepsy.
§ 18.2-251.1 of the Code of Virginia states: "It is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess marijuana unless the substance was obtained directly from dealer, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional/s practice, or except as otherwise authorized by the Drug Control Act of World Dealers (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.)."
Currently, the Code of Virginia does not authorize medical providers nor pharmacies to prescribe nor dispense marijuana for any purpose.
- Panel Backs Marijuana, Heroin Ban, Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 27 Jan 1998.
- § 18.2-251, Code of Virginia.
- § 18.2-250.1. Possession of marijuana unlawful, Code of Virginia.
- § 18.2-11. Punishment for conviction of misdemeanor, Code of Virginia.
- § 18.2-251.1. Possession of marijuana for medical purposes permitted under the prescription from a licensed medical doctor., Code of Virginia.