When it comes to growing marijuana, illegal farmers have two options: plant indoors or outdoors. In West Virginia, the majority of the estimated 86,000 pounds of pot that is grown annually occurs outdoors. Given the rural nature of the countryside it is easy to understand why some growers think that can get away with cultivating their crops out in the open. Yet, there are still around 2,000 arrests a year for marijuana offense so clearly not everyone is getting away with breaking the law.
Currently, West Virginia does not have any exemptions for medical marijuana users and it doesn’t appear the residents are in a hurry to change the law any time soon.
West Virginia Marijuana Possession Penalties
Some states make distinctions for marijuana possession charges depending on the amount the offender is arrested with. West Virginia marijuana laws make no such distinction. If you are arrested with any amount of marijuana you will be charged with a misdemeanor and can face anywhere from 90 days to 6 months in jail. There is also a $1,000 fine.
There is a minor exemption for first time offenders with a possession charge if the amount is less than 15 grams. Those individuals can opt for conditional discharge. This means that they can plead guilty and avoid a trial or jail time. They will have to complete conditions of a probation period which is usually six months. After that time, the arrest and charge is removed from their records if they have fulfilled their probation obligations.
Any amount over 15 grams or a repeat offender won’t be eligible for the conditional discharge.
West Virginia Marijuana Selling, Growing or Transporting Penalties
In West Virginia, the “any amount” rule comes into play with arrests for selling, growing or bringing marijuana into the state. An arrest with any amount of pot with the intent to sell is considered a felony offense. With a conviction of this charge, you could face anywhere between 1 to 5 years in jail along with paying a $15,000 fine. If you are caught growing any amount of pot, the same level of penalties apply.
If you are convicted of selling pot within 1,000 feet of a school or to a minor, you will have a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years attached to whatever other sentence is handed down to you. Anyone who is arrested and convicted of bringing pot into the state with the intent to sell will be looking at up to 5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
West Virginia Marijuana Paraphernalia Penalties
There is no law against the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, but if you are arrested for selling paraphernalia you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted you could end up serving 6 months to 1 year in jail and pay $5,000 in fines.
A person who is convicted of repeat marijuana offenses face the risk of double the penalty and double the fine.
For driving offenses, any person who is found to be under the influence of marijuana while operating a auto will be charged with a DUI offense as well as a possession charge.