2021 Virginia Criminal Law Update: Possession of Marijuana

The 2021 General Assembly session was one of the transformative legislative sessions in recent history in the area of criminal law.  Over the next few weeks, the criminal attorneys at Winslow, McCurry, and MacCormac will discuss some of the major changes to criminal law and procedure in the Commonwealth.  These changes will effect both charges, motions and trials, and sentencing hearings that have occurred or will occur after the law changes take effect.

In the next part of our series, we will discuss major changes to the law of regarding the possession of marijuana.

On July 1, 2021, the simple possession of less than one ounce of marijuana by those older than 21 will be legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Each household may also grow up to 4 marijuana plants.  If you possess more than one ounce but less than a pound, you are subject to a $25 civil penalty.  Possession of more than a pound of marijuana is a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison.  There is no legal sale of marijuana in Virginia, but there is a provision allowing the sharing of marijuana (with no money exchanged) for adults.  The legal sale of marijuana is set to go into effect in July of 2024.

Marijuana can only be smoked or ingested in private, basically at your home.  You cannot legally consume marijuana in public or in your vehicle.  The possession in an open container while driving a vehicle creates a presumption of consumption while driving.

If you have previously been convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana offense relating to the possession or sale of marijuana, it will be sealed from public view.  If you were convicted of a felony offense, you may petition to have the conviction sealed.

If you have been previously convicted of a felony marijuana offense and wish to have your record sealed, contact the criminal law attorneys at Winslow, McCurry & MacCormac for help.