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Is Marijuana Really Legal?



Marijuana Laws changed in 2022! Possessing marijuana is no longer a criminal offense if you have under 4 oz. However, it is illegal to give, sell, or distribute marijuana, no matter how small the amount.




When is Possession Legal and when is there a Civil Penalty?

In 2021, possessing Marijuana was a civil offense. That meant you just faced a fine. As of July 1, 2022, if you are over 21 years old, you can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana legally. If you have over 1 ounce and no more than 4 ounces of marijuana, then you can face a civil fine of $25.


When can you be Criminally charged?

If you possess more than 4 oz of marijuana, you could be criminally charged with a Class 3 Misdemeanor. A Class 3 Misdemeanor means you have a criminal offense on your record and you face up to a $500 fine. If you are found with over 4 oz of marijuana a second time, it is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. A Class 2 Misdemeanor means you have a criminal offense on your record, you face up to a $1,000 fine, and you face up to 6 months in jail.


Did you know you can be charged with a crime for giving, selling, or distributing marijuana, no matter how small the amount? Under Virginia Code 18.2-248.1, if you give, sell, or distribute less than 1 ounce of marijuana, it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, meaning you could face up to 1 year in jail along with a fine. The law does presume that if you possess less than an ounce of marijuana then it is for personal use. It is the prosecutor’s job to disprove this presumption and show the Court that you intended to give, sell, or distribute marijuana.


Let’s say you give a friend less than an ounce of marijuana. If you gave someone marijuana with no intent to earn money, and no intent to have the person become addicted to marijuana, it is still a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The penalty is a fine up to $2,500, possibly a jail sentence up to 12 months.


If you give, sell, or distribute between 1 ounce and 5 pounds of marijuana, it is a Class 5 Felony, meaning you could serve up to 10 years in prison. If you give, sell, or distribute more than 5 pounds of Marijuana, you can serve 5 to 30 years in prison.


Let’s say you grow or produce marijuana with the purpose of giving or selling it to others. The punishment for that crime is steep. It is a felony conviction with a minimum prison sentence of 5 years but you could serve up to 30 years.


Possession of Marijuana Under Age 21

The penalties for having any marijuana as under the age of 21 are different. If you under 21 years old and found possessing even an ounce of marijuana, you can be fined $25 and could be required to complete a substance abuse program.


Possession of Marijuana Under Age 18

If you are a Juvenile, meaning you are under 18 year old, and you are possessing marijuana, the penalties can be much worse. The Court can suspended you driver’s license, put you on probation, require you to complete substance abuse counseling, and more.

There are other times when giving, selling, or distributing marijuana is a crime. If you are facing a criminal conviction for a marijuana offense, consider seeking legal counsel to help prepare your defense.


Other Questions - Call Shaia's Law

There are other times when giving, selling, or distributing marijuana is a crime. If you are facing a criminal conviction for a marijuana offense, consider seeking legal counsel to help prepare your defense.

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