You enjoy smoking marijuana on occasion. It's relaxing, and you don't think it has any negative effects. In fact, on a recent trip to Colorado, you enjoyed the freedom to smoke when you wanted to without the potential for being arrested or charged. That's not the case in every state, though.
If you've been using marijuana in Virginia, you may want to rethink your behaviors. Virginia does not yet recognize marijuana as a legal drug, and it still penalizes those who smoke, sell or distribute marijuana. While marijuana laws are changing throughout the states, Virginia doesn't recognize recreational or medical marijuana at all. Possessing as little as 2 ounces of cannabis can result in a jail sentence of up to 30 days as well as a fine of up to $500. Selling .5 ounces or more is a Class 5 felony.
While state laws require certain punishments you may already know about, you need to remember that you could also face federal charges. The federal government does not recognize marijuana as a legal drug in any case. Federal laws prohibit the possession of marijuana, even though some states allow it. If you possess marijuana, you can be penalized by up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 based on federal law.
Fortunately, it's most common to face state penalties for driving under the influence of drugs charges, not federal penalties, but it's wise to ask your attorney about the charges and penalties you face in your specific case. Depending on where you were stopped and who you were dealing with at the time, you may face federal charges, state charges or both.
Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Marijuana Laws," accessed Oct. 11, 2017