Beginning July 1, 2020, the new Virginia laws regarding possession of marijuana became active. The Commonwealth of Virginia has “de-criminalized” possession of marijuana. This means that it is still “unlawful” to possess marijuana in Virginia, but that violations will no longer be punished by arrest or jail. The new Virginia laws require the police to issue a summons when they observe someone in possession of marijuana.
Additionally, the maximum penalty that a court may impose for a violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1, the law on possession of marijuana, is $25 civil penalty. A violation of that code section is specifically classified as a “civil offense,” not a criminal offense. Lastly, the court may not impose any court costs in additional to the $25 civil penalty.
There are other benefits of Virginia's new marijuana laws. Violations of Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1 will not be recorded in criminal background records, meaning that if you are cited for possession of marijuana, it should not be reported in future background checks by employers or governments. Also, if you decide to fight the charge of possession of marijuana, the prosecutor is still required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Finally, cannabis oil is no longer a felony under the new Virginia marijuana laws if you possess the cannabis oil and have a “valid written certification issued by a practitioner in the course of his professional practice.”