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Even though the possession and use of marijuana is beginning to be seen in a new light across the country, there are many states that have yet to legalize it in any way. One of those states is Virginia. The laws for drug offenses with marijuana are in flux, but there will still be potentially serious consequences for an arrest and conviction. These apply whether it is given as a gift, is sold, distributed or possessed with the intention of sale.

A person who has no more than one-half of an ounce of marijuana and is caught and convicted will be confronted with a Class 1 misdemeanor. If there is more than a half ounce, but no more than five pounds, it will be a Class 5 felony. If there are more than five pounds of marijuana, it will be a felony that can lead to being incarcerated for at least five years and up to 30 years.

A person who is placed under arrest for these charges and is able to prove that the drug was given, distributed or is in his or her possession with the intention to provide it as an accommodation for another and not for profit, it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

If a person does any of the above as an accommodation, doesn't do so to profit and provides it to an inmate at a local or state correctional institution or someone who is in the custody of one of these facilities will be charged with a Class 4 felony.

A person who is charged with manufacturing and does so not for individual use will be charged with a felony and face at least five years and up to 30 years. There will also be a fine of up to $10,000.

There are many who might be under the mistaken impression that national debates regarding the legalization of marijuana lessens the penalties in Virginia. That is not the case. When arrested on these drug charges, there are serious consequences and it's important to discuss the matter with an experienced legal representative.

Source: leg1.state.va.us, "18.2-248.1. Penalties for sale, gift, distribution or possession with intent to sell, give or distribute marijuana," accessed on Feb. 1, 2015

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