Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 7. Crimes Involving Health and Safety
10/31/2020

§ 18.2-250.1. Possession of marijuana unlawful.

A. It is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess marijuana unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by the Drug Control Act (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.). The attorney for the Commonwealth or the county, city, or town attorney may prosecute such a case.

Upon the prosecution of a person for violation of this section, ownership or occupancy of the premises or vehicle upon or in which marijuana was found shall not create a presumption that such person either knowingly or intentionally possessed such marijuana.

Any person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25. A violation of this section is a civil offense. Any civil penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Drug Offender Assessment and Treatment Fund established pursuant to § 18.2-251.02.

B. Any violation of this section shall be charged by summons. A summons for a violation of this section may be executed by a law-enforcement officer when such violation is observed by such officer. The summons used by a law-enforcement officer pursuant to this section shall be in form the same as the uniform summons for motor vehicle law violations as prescribed pursuant to § 46.2-388. No court costs shall be assessed for violations of this section. A person's criminal history record information as defined in § 9.1-101 shall not include records of any charges or judgments for a violation of this section, and records of such charges or judgments shall not be reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange. However, if a violation of this section occurs while an individual is operating a commercial motor vehicle as defined in § 46.2-341.4, such violation shall be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and shall be included on such individual's driving record.

C. The procedure for appeal and trial of any violation of this section shall be the same as provided by law for misdemeanors; if requested by either party on appeal to the circuit court, trial by jury shall be as provided in Article 4 (§ 19.2-260 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 19.2, and the Commonwealth shall be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to members of state, federal, 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.

E. The provisions of this section involving marijuana in the form of cannabis oil as that term is defined in § 54.1-3408.3 shall not apply to any person who possesses such oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner in the course of his professional practice pursuant to § 54.1-3408.3 for treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of (i) the person's diagnosed condition or disease, (ii) if such person is the parent or legal guardian of a minor or of an incapacitated adult as defined in § 18.2-369, such minor's or incapacitated adult's diagnosed condition or disease, or (iii) if such person has been designated as a registered agent pursuant to § 54.1-3408.3, the diagnosed condition or disease of his principal or, if the principal is the parent or legal guardian of a minor or of an incapacitated adult as defined in § 18.2-369, such minor's or incapacitated adult's diagnosed condition or disease.

1979, c. 435; 1991, c. 649; 1998, c. 116; 2015, cc. 7, 8; 2017, c. 613; 2018, cc. 246, 809; 2019, c. 690; 2020, cc. 764, 1285, 1286.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.