Virginia representative proposes federal marijuana law

For the past 45 years, people have associated our state with the saying, "Virginia is for Lovers." Unfortunately, this popular slogan no longer rings true for some families in Virginia, who have had to take the drastic step of splitting up their families to receive necessary medical treatment.

For some Virginia families, the lack of progress when it comes to medical marijuana has led to some difficult choices. Families with children suffering from pediatric epilepsy have made the choice to divide the family. Some family members have remained in Virginia while others have moved to states where the medical marijuana they need to treat their child's illness is legal.

Medical marijuana has actually been legal in Virginia since 1979. The law allows medical marijuana to be prescribed to patients and allows patients to possess the drug. Unfortunately, there is no law in Virginia, however, allowing for the sale of medical marijuana. Consequently, those in need of the substance for medical reasons have no legal way of obtaining the drug.

In addition, federal law currently prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana for medical purposes.

In response to this quandary, Virginia Representative Griffith recently introduced legislation in Congress that would resolve some of these issues. The "Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act" would alter how marijuana is categorized. Currently, it is considered a Schedule I drug - would change it to a Schedule II drug. As a Schedule II substance, doctors would be allowed to prescribe marijuana.

Fight marijuana possession charges in Virginia

Currently, in Virginia, the penalties for a marijuana possession conviction vary depending on whether the individual has prior convictions.

Upon a first offense of possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana, an individual may be fined up to $500 and face a jail sentence of up to 30 days. Upon any subsequent offenses, the penalties increase to a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to one year in jail.

Enforcing marijuana laws costs Virginian taxpayers approximately $67 million every year. The state has the 12th most marijuana arrests in the country.

When someone is charged with a marijuana crime in Virginia, the consequences can be serious. If convicted, the individual may have to deal with the repercussions for years to come. If you are facing charges of a marijuana crime in Virginia, it would be wise to seek the counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to ensure a robust defense is mounted on your behalf.