Recreational marijuana is now legal in Virginia
As of July 1, the cultivation and possession of recreational marijuana, or cannabis, is legal in Virginia, within limits.
Loudoun County has posted information online to help residents understand what is allowed and what is not under the new law passed by the General Assembly in February 2021. Loudoun County encourages residents who may plan to use marijuana to visit the County’s website to learn about details of the new law, which will help residents avoid inadvertently breaking the law. More information about the legalization of recreational marijuana is online at loudoun.gov/marijuana.
Here is a summary of what is legal and what remains illegal under the new law:
What is Legal
- Adults 21 years and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use and smoke it in their homes.
- Adults 21 and over may grow up to four cannabis plants per household as long as the plants are not visible from the street, not accessible to anyone under 21, and have tags attached with the owner’s name, driver’s license or ID number and a note that the marijuana plant is being grown for personal use as authorized by law.
- People who are 21 or older may share up to one ounce of marijuana with another adult, provided there is no remuneration, or exchange of money or anything of value.
What is Illegal
- Smoking marijuana in public, including in a vehicle, is illegal.
- No one may possess more than one ounce of marijuana.
- No one under the age of 21 can consume, buy or possess marijuana.
- Possessing marijuana on the grounds of a public school is not allowed.
- For now, it is illegal to sell any amount of marijuana. The law passed by the General Assembly legalizing recreational marijuana also allows for retail sales of cannabis, but that is not scheduled to begin until 2024.
Enforcement and Penalties
Anyone possessing more than an ounce but less than a pound of marijuana may face a fine of up to $25. Possessing more than a pound of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000. Penalties for possessing more than four plants are set based on the number of plants. Anyone under 21 who is found to possess marijuana may face a civil penalty of up to $25 and be required to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program. Possession of marijuana on school grounds is a criminal misdemeanor.
In Loudoun County, enforcement of changes to the Code of Virginia related to prohibited practices will be the responsibility of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office or the police departments in the towns of Leesburg, Middleburg and Purcellville.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has created a website with comprehensive information about legalizing adult-use marijuana, including information about medical cannabis, home cultivation and commercial sales. Learn more at cannabis.virginia.gov.