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Is medical marijuana legal in Virginia?

Medical marijuana, which is controlled by pharmacies and ordered by prescription, is available in many states, but in Virginia, it is still not legal to have it in your possession. Even if the state does legalize marijuana, it can still be illegal to have it; federal laws still maintain that the drug is an illegal substance. Marijuana laws can be hard to understand, because it is legal in some places in the United States. In Virginia, you may still need to speak to your attorney if you're caught with the drug, since you could be facing time in jail.

By federal law, if you're stopped with any amount of marijuana in your possession, you could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. If you're caught again, the penalties just get more severe.

In Virginia, having marijuana on you is a misdemeanor, regardless of the amount you possess. If you're caught, the first time you're charged can result in up to 30 days in prison and a maximum fine of $500. If you're stopped in possession of the drug again, you face a Class 1 misdemeanor for any subsequent charge.

Possessing the drug isn't the most serious thing you can do, so the penalties are less severe than if you're selling the drugs to others within the state. Virginia law states that selling up to half an ounce is a Class 1 misdemeanor, while selling five pounds or more is a Class 5 felony that can land you in jail for up to 30 years. If you're selling the drug close to a school, the penalties can be particularly harsh.

Source: FindLaw, "Medical Marijuana - An Overview," accessed Feb. 05, 2016

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