Currently, in Virginia, simple possession of marijuana (that is, possession for personal use and not with the intent to distribute) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail for a first offense; while a second or subsequent offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to $2500 and/or up to 12 months in jail). In November 2019, the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia both switched to a Democratic majority. Yesterday, on February 10, 2020, the House passed HB 972, which would decriminalize simple possession of marijuana, providing a civil penalty of no more than $50, or if a person is caught smoking in a public place a fine of no more than $250. The bill also provides that any person who knowing or intentionally smokes, consumes, or otherwise ingests marijuana while operating a motor vehicle would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail for a first offense, while a second or subsequent offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. While this bill does not legalize simple possession of marijuana, it is major step in that direction, although it needs to be passed by the Virginia Senate and signed by the governor before it becomes law.
At Whitestone Young, we want to be sure you’re made aware of these developments in the law. Contacting an attorney at our office can give you peace of mind that you’re being given the most up to date information. When you call Whitestone Young you’ll get an attorney who practices in Northern Virginia courts every day and is up to date on the most recent developments in this fast changing area of the law.