Across the United States, steps have been taken in certain areas to reduce the penalties associated with low-level marijuana crimes. Such legislation has been introduced, in part, to address prison overcrowding, which is often attributable to the number of non-violent drug offenders sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Recently, a global study was conducted to determine which controlled substances are the most common around the world.
According to the study, published in the journal Lancet, marijuana is the most popular drug around the world. Although it is the most frequently used controlled substance, however, marijuana is not the deadliest, according to the study. In fact, prescription painkillers - such as Oxycontin and Vicodin - lead to more fatalities than any other controlled substance in the world.
Similar data has been revealed in studies focused on the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana rose in popularity in the U.S. from 2007 to 2012. In addition, the survey revealed that marijuana use has been increasing in a number of age groups, including those in their 20s and people between 50 and 64 years of age. In fact, marijuana usage among those in their 50s rose to 6.6 percent in 2012 - in 2002, slightly under 2 percent of this age group reported using marijuana.
As attitudes toward the substance have changed and its popularity has continued to increase, reducing penalties and decriminalization have become important topics across the country. Nevertheless, many states continue to impose harsh penalties on those found in possession of marijuana. Consequently, it is imperative for individuals to be aware of the potential consequences of marijuana possession in their state.
Fight marijuana crime charges in Virginia
Upon the first offense for possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana, an individual could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Subsequent offenses can lead to harsher penalties. Those convicted of possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana on two or more occasions could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Of course, the quantity in the person's possession can also dictate the type of charge he or she may face. If an individual is found in possession of more than half an ounce of marijuana, he or she may face felony charges with more severe penalties.
If you are facing marijuana charges in Virginia, taking proactive steps to protect yourself is a wise choice. Seek the advice of a skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure a strong defense is established on your behalf.