M Logan Blake


With the passage of the Cannabis Control Act in 2021, Virginia became the first southern state to legalize recreational marijuana. However, the operative language of the new possession statute, “a person 21 years of age or older may lawfully possess on his person or in any public place not more than one ounce of marijuana,” coupled with the lawful ability to grow four marijuana plants in residences, created interpretational issues. What would happen to a lawful home-grower whose marijuana plants produced more than one ounce? The General Assembly fixed this problem in a 2022 budget amendment that created a blanket home exception allowing one to possess unlimited quantities of marijuana in the home. Further, in a proposed update to the marijuana regime, penalties for marijuana distribution are neutered and the penalty for possession with the intent to distribute is eliminated. This Comment argues that if these two statutes come to coexist, Virginia will be plagued by unregulated residential marijuana shops. This would not only produce negative consumer health outcomes but also a spike in crime. Therefore, this Comment—beyond exploring what marijuana is and what is in the new legislation—proposes two possible solutions to this problem.

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