Can Medical Marijuana Patients from Other States Face Drug Charges in Virginia?
With the frequently changing state laws regarding marijuana, keeping track of what is and is not permissible in any given state can be difficult. With that in mind, when is it okay to travel with marijuana? And does the fact that it’s medical marijuana make a difference?
The answers to these questions are complicated, unfortunately. Those with medical marijuana cards can still face drug charges in Virginia, even though Virginia effectively decriminalized the drug in 2021. And, if you’ve been charged with drug possession or distribution offenses, it is vitally important that you seek professional legal representation as soon as possible.
While there are several stories of traveling across state lines with marijuana (recreational or medical) and everything going just fine, this is, in fact, a federal crime. Carrying a medical marijuana card or prescription from your doctor won’t help you, either.
With all of that being said, the prosecution must still prove their case against you. With a solid criminal defense legal team, it is possible to beat the charges. If you or someone you love is facing a situation similar to this you will be in need of a drug-related defense attorney. Contact our law firm to discuss your case in more detail.
Is Medical Marijuana Still Considered a Schedule 1 Drug on the Federal Level?
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This puts it in the same category as drugs typically considered far more hardcore and dangerous to their users, like ecstasy, heroin, LSD, and mescaline. Despite this, marijuana is becoming legalized state by state, which contradicts the federal classification of the drug as especially dangerous with a high potential for abuse.
Can You Cross State Lines into Virginia with Marijuana?
Crossing state lines with marijuana – medical or otherwise – is a federal crime. It’s a federal offense even if the state you’re leaving and the state you’re entering have legalized marijuana for recreational use. That’s because state lines are federal jurisdiction.
Does that mean you’re likely to be caught and arrested by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as soon as you cross state lines by plane, train, or automobile? It’s unlikely. However, it is not an impossibility.
And again, it doesn’t matter if you carry a medical marijuana card. You’re committing a crime if you cross state lines with the drug.
What Are the Penalties for Traveling with Marijuana in Virginia?
Every case is unique. The penalties for your federal drug offense can vary greatly from the next person’s case. Factors that may come into play include the amount of drugs in your possession, the existence of other controlled substances, prior convictions, and evidence of the intent to distribute the drugs.
First-time offenses are typically treated as misdemeanors, accompanied by fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison.
Possession of large amounts of marijuana could indicate to prosecutors that you intend to sell or distribute the drug. Selling marijuana is a felony, even if it was originally obtained legally. Penalties include five or more years in federal prison and potentially fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What Are Virginia’s Marijuana Laws?
As of 2021, it became legal for:
Those 21 and older can have one ounce of weed on their person. They may use it in a private place, provided that the location’s owner allows it.
Adults over 21 can grow up to four marijuana plants per household.
Sharing marijuana between adults is legal if it is not a reciprocal action.
It remains illegal to:
Distribute or sell weed.
Those under age 21 cannot use the drug.
Drive a motor vehicle while using marijuana.
Possess the drug on school grounds.
Use or share marijuana in a public place.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation with An Experienced Drug Crimes Lawyer Today
If you’re facing federal drug charges, please get in touch with our law firm without further delay. The sooner our drug crime attorneys examine your case, the sooner we can craft a strong defense. While no outcome can be guaranteed in a court of law, we bring knowledge and experience to the table, and we’re confident that we can provide you with a solid legal defense.
To discuss your case, please call our law offices at (540)-384-4585.