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Virginia’s New Marijuana Law (2020): Civil Offense, Expungement, etc.

Virginia’s New Marijuana Law (2020): Civil Offense, Expungement, etc.

On April 11, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession. Here is a summary of the key provisions of the law that go into effect on July 1, 2020:

  • Under Va. Code§ 18.2-250.1:
    • Possession of small quantities of marijuana (less than one ounce) shall now be a civil offense punishable with a $25 fine
    • No court costs shall be assessed for possession of small quantities of marijuana
    • Officers shall issue a summons (ticket), not an arrest warrant, for possession of small quantities of marijuana
    • A person’s permanent criminal record shall not contain any reference to a civil citation for possession of small quantities of marijuana
  • Under Va. Code § 18.2-259.1:
    • A person’s driver’s license shall not be suspended for possession of small quantities of marijuana, except, if they are a juvenile
  • Under Va. Code § 19.2-389.3:
    • Records relating to the arrest, criminal charge, or conviction of a person for Possession of Marijuana, including any violation that was deferred and dismissed under the First Offender Program for Possession of Marijuana, maintained in the Central Criminal Records Exchange, shall not be open for public inspection or otherwise disclosed to employers, schools, colleges, etc.
    • Except, such records can be shared with the Court for pre-trial services, probation, sentencing guidelines, applications to work law enforcement, etc.
  • Under Va. Code § 19.2-392.2:
    • A dismissal of a civil offense for possession of marijuana is eligible for expungement

Does the new Virginia marijuana law allow me to expunge an old conviction for possession of marijuana?

Not yet. The Virginia General Assembly is still considering whether to allow expungement of old charges for marijuana. For now, the conviction remains on your record. But, under Va. Code § 19.2-389.3, that old conviction cannot be shared with employers, schools, colleges, etc.

Does the new Virginia marijuana law allow me to expunge an old charge for possession of marijuana that was dismissed under First Offender?

Not yet. The Virginia General Assembly is still considering whether to allow expungement of old charges for marijuana. For now, the charge remains on your record. But, under Va. Code § 19.2-389.3, that old charge that was dismissed cannot be shared with employers, schools, colleges, etc.

Virginia’s Marijuana Decriminalization Law (2020):

If you need help with a marijuana case, call our office at 540-585-1776.

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