June 29, 2021 News & Features » Cover Story

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A look at the legislation 

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The legislation that will make possession and cultivation of marijuana legal on July 1 has almost 300 pages. But in reality, only a few sections are actually going into effect.

That’s because lawmakers included hundreds of pages of rules and regulations they’d like to enact but couldn’t yet agree on. So, at the end of the session, they slapped what they call a re-enactment clause on it. Basically, it’s a road map for what the General Assembly might do next year.

That’s all well and good, but in this particular case, the approach has the effect of making it exceedingly difficult for normal people to understand what language in the bill is real and what is wishful thinking. In some cases, it’s led localities to begin debating provisions that won’t necessarily become law.
So, without further ado, here’s the language that lawmakers actually inserted into the state’s criminal code governing possession and cultivation by adults.

§ 4.1-1100. Possession, etc., of marijuana and marijuana products by persons 21 years of age or older lawful; penalties.

A. Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle and notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person 21 years of age or older may lawfully possess on his person or in any public place not more than one ounce of marijuana or an equivalent amount of marijuana product as determined by regulation promulgated by the Board.

B. Any person who possesses on his person or in any public place marijuana or marijuana products in excess of the amounts set forth in subsection A is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25. The penalty for any violations of this section by an adult shall be prepayable according to the procedures in § 16.1-69.40:2.

C. With the exception of a licensee in the course of his duties related to such licensee's marijuana establishment, any person who possesses on his person or in any public place more than one pound of marijuana or an equivalent amount of marijuana product as determined by regulation promulgated by the Board is guilty of a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years and a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to members of federal, state, county, city, or town law enforcement agencies, jail officers, or correctional officers, as defined in § 53.1-1, certified as handlers of dogs trained in the detection of controlled substances when possession of marijuana is necessary for the performance of their duties.

§ 4.1-1101. Home cultivation of marijuana for personal use; penalties.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision c of § 18.2-248.1, a person 21 years of age or older may cultivate up to four marijuana plants for personal use at their place of residence; however, at no point shall a household contain more than four marijuana plants. For purposes of this section, a "household" means those individuals, whether related or not, who live in the same house or other place of residence. A person may only cultivate marijuana plants pursuant to this section at such person's main place of residence.

B. A person who cultivates marijuana for personal use pursuant to this section shall:

1. Ensure that no marijuana plant is visible from a public way without the use of aircraft, binoculars, or other optical aids;

2. Take precautions to prevent unauthorized access by persons younger than 21 years of age; and

3. Attach to each marijuana plant a legible tag that includes the person's name, driver's license or identification number, and a notation that the marijuana plant is being grown for personal use as authorized under this section.

C. A person shall not manufacture marijuana concentrate from home-cultivated marijuana. The owner of a property or parcel or tract of land may not intentionally or knowingly allow another person to manufacture marijuana concentrate from home-cultivated marijuana within or on that property or land.

D. The following penalties or punishments shall be imposed on any person convicted of a violation of this section:

1. For possession of more than four marijuana plants but no more than 10 marijuana plants, (i) a civil penalty of $250 for a first offense, (ii) a Class 3 misdemeanor for a second offense, and (iii) a Class 2 misdemeanor for a third and any subsequent offense;

2. For possession of more than 10 but no more than 49 marijuana plants, a Class 1 misdemeanor;
3. For possession of more than 49 but no more than 100 marijuana plants, a Class 6 felony; and

4. For possession of more than 100 marijuana plants, a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years and a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.

§ 4.1-1101.1. Adult sharing of marijuana.

A. For the purposes of this section, "adult sharing" means transferring marijuana between persons who are 21 years of age or older without remuneration. "Adult sharing" does not include instances in which (i) marijuana is given away contemporaneously with another reciprocal transaction between the same parties; (ii) a gift of marijuana is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services; or (iii) a gift of marijuana is contingent upon a separate reciprocal transaction for goods or services.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 18.2-248.1, no civil or criminal penalty may be imposed for adult sharing of an amount of marijuana that does not exceed one ounce or of an equivalent amount of marijuana products.

§ 4.1-1107. Using or consuming marijuana or marijuana products while in a motor vehicle being driven upon a public highway; penalty.

A. For the purposes of this section:

"Open container" means any vessel containing marijuana or marijuana products, except the originally sealed manufacturer's container.

"Passenger area" means the area designed to seat the driver of any motor vehicle, any area within the reach of the driver, including an unlocked glove compartment, and the area designed to seat passengers.

"Passenger area" does not include the trunk of any passenger vehicle; the area behind the last upright seat of a passenger van, station wagon, hatchback, sport utility vehicle or any similar vehicle; the living quarters of a motor home; or the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxi, or limousine, while engaged in the transportation of such persons.

B. It is unlawful for any person to use or consume marijuana or marijuana products while driving a motor vehicle upon a public highway of the Commonwealth or while being a passenger in a motor vehicle being driven upon a public highway of the Commonwealth.

C. A judge or jury may make a permissive inference that a person has consumed marijuana or marijuana products in violation of this section if (i) an open container is located within the passenger area of the motor vehicle, (ii) the marijuana or marijuana products in the open container have been at least partially removed and (iii) the appearance, conduct, speech, or other physical characteristic of such person, excluding odor, is consistent with the consumption of marijuana or marijuana products. Such person may be prosecuted either in the county or city in which the marijuana was used or consumed, or in the county or city in which the person exhibits evidence of physical indicia of use or consumption of marijuana.

D. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

§ 4.1-1108. Consuming marijuana or marijuana products, or offering to another, in public place; penalty.

A. No person shall consume marijuana or a marijuana product or offer marijuana or a marijuana product to another, whether accepted or not, at or in any public place.

B. Any person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25 for a first offense.

A person who is convicted under this section of a second offense is subject to a $25 civil penalty and shall be ordered to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program or both, if available, that in the opinion of the court best suits the needs of the accused. A person convicted under this section of a third or subsequent offense is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

§ 4.1-1109. Consuming or possessing marijuana or marijuana products in or on public school grounds; penalty.

A. No person shall possess or consume any marijuana or marijuana product in or upon the grounds of any public elementary or secondary school during school hours or school or student activities.

B. In addition, no person shall consume and no organization shall serve any marijuana or marijuana products in or upon the grounds of any public elementary or secondary school after school hours or school or student activities.

C. Any person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

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