Virginia still prohibits the use of marijuana for all purposes and for this reason, if you want to use marijuana within the state, you should at least think twice or move to another state wherein the recreational use of marijuana is legal. The medical bill of Virginia, however, was recently passed on April 6, 2017, legalizing the use medical marijuana in the state.
Medical Marijuana Laws of Virginia
The medical use of marijuana saw a glimpse of hope in Virginia when in March of 2015, Governor Terry McAuliffe readily signed into law the House Bill 1445 and Senate Bill 1235 that create affirmative defense in case a person is charged with possession of cannabidiol oil for treatment of epilepsy. It took two more years before a comprehensive medical marijuana bill was signed into law.
Governor Jim Justice signed into law the Senate Bill 386 which authorizes the use, possession, growing, processing, and dispensing of marijuana for certain serious medical conditions under limited conditions. This law likewise directs the creation of West Virginia Medical Cannabis Program under the
Department of Health and Human Resources which would be directed by the Bureau for Public Health. This law likewise listed the standing duties of the Bureau for Public Health regarding the implementation and administration of the medical cannabis program. The law also directs the Bureau of Public Health to issue marijuana patients’ ID cards starting July 1, 2019, and to begin licensing marijuana dispensaries by July 1, 2020.
Drug Possession Laws of Virginia
The use, possession, selling, and distribution of marijuana are still illegal in Virginia, and as such, you will run afoul of the state laws if you would engage in the recreational use of marijuana within the state. Here are the offenses and penalties concomitant with the violation of the state laws on marijuana:
- If you are caught possessing less than an ounce of marijuana (first offense), you will be charged with misdemeanor, 30 days of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $500. For subsequent offense, you will be charged with misdemeanor, 1 year of imprisonment, and $2,500 maximum fine.
The sale and manufacturing of cannabis is illegal, and here are the accompanying penalties and punishments for violations of these laws:
- The sale of 1/2 oz to 5 lbs would be a felony, plus 1 to 10 years of imprisonment, and $2,500 maximum fine.
- For 5 lbs to 100 lbs, you will be charged with felony, 5 to 30 years of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $10,000.
- For more than 100 kg, you will be charged with felony, 20 years to life imprisonment, and maximum fine of $100,000.
- You will be charged with additional count of felony if you are caught selling within 1,000 feet of school or school bus stop.
- If you manufacture marijuana, you will be charged with felony, 5 to 30 years of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $10,000.
- If you transport more than 5 lbs of cannabis into the state, you will be charged with felony, 5 to 30 years of imprisonment, and $1,000,000 maximum fine.
Can Employers Require their Employees and Applicants to Undergo Drug Tests?
Virginia Laws do not restrict drug testing nor prohibit employers from conducting drug tests at workplace. In the absence of such legislation, employers can freely require employees and applicants to conduct drug tests as long as they comply with the statutory requirements of the Federal laws and state laws:
- Employers should provide employees and applicants with a required notice of their drug testing policy.
- Employers likewise can require drug tests if there was an accident that caused injury, damage to properties, and death in the workplace.
- Employers may conduct drug test if they have a reasonable suspicion on the inability of their employees to perform their jobs due to drug use.
- However, employers should shoulder the drug tests cost and the costs of confirmatory tests.
- Employers should also keep the test results confidential.
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