Although marijuana is being treated more leniently throughout the U.S., with some states outright legalizing it, it is still against the law in Virginia. A person who is caught with marijuana can face drug possession charges. With these drug offenses, possession with intent to distribute is taken more seriously than simply possessing it. Those who are arrested on these charges should be aware of the penalties they will face in the event of a conviction. Possession with intent to distribute is also referred to under the acronym PWID.
A person is not allowed to sell, distribute, give, or possess the drug with the intent to sell, distribute, or give. If there are charges related to this offense, the person will face certain charges based on the amount. Having up to one-half ounce will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Having more than one-half ounce but five pounds or less will be a Class 5 felony. Having more than five pounds of marijuana will be a felony with a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum incarceration of 30 years.
If the person can show that he or she did not intend to profit in any way from providing the marijuana and did not expect the recipient to become addicted or dependent on it, the offense will be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. If it is given without the intent to profit, but is given to an inmate in a local correctional facility or someone in the custody of an employee of a correctional facility, this will be a Class 4 felony. A person who manufactures marijuana and intends to do so not for his or her own use will be changed with a felony and face a fine of up to $10,000 and jail for five to 30 years.
For a third felony conviction, or subsequent conviction, where it is shown that there were two or more prior felony convictions on marijuana charges or of similar offenses that are felonies and were committed prior to this charge, there will be a life sentence or a sentence of a minimum imprisonment of five years. This will be served consecutively with other sentences and there will be a fine of up to $500,000.
People who are under the impression that there will be leniency in Virginia due to a changing perspective on marijuana should realize that this is not the case. If there is a charge of PWID, it is imperative to have legal assistance to formulate an immediate and aggressive defense.
Source: Virginia Legislature, “18.2-248.1. Penalties for sale, gift, distribution or possession with intent to sell, give or distribute marijuana,” accessed on Aug. 13, 2017