Month: September 2016

Current Virginia Marijuana Laws

Cravens & Noll PC has received a number of inquiries lately about Virginia marijuana laws. While marijuana laws in Virginia are changing swiftly, the commonwealth still does not recognize medical marijuana. Simple possession of less than two ounces of cannabis can result in up to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Presently, the penalty for the sale of five pounds (or more) is five to 30 years in state prison.

Code Section 54.1-3445, 18.2-247

Possession Misdemeanor, jail up to 30 days and/or $500; Subsequent offense: Class 1 misdemeanor

Sale Up to .5 oz.: Class 1 misdemeanor; .5 oz.-5 lbs.: Class 5 felony; Over 5 lbs.: 5-30 yrs.; Proof that person gave drug only as an accommodation not for remuneration or to induce him to become addicted shall be guilty of Class 1 misdemeanor

Federal Marijuana Laws

This is where the law gets interesting. We have some states have legalizing recreational and medical use of marijuana, but it is still illegal under federal laws. Federal laws prohibit possession of any amount of marijuana. A first conviction is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second possession offense carries a minimum 15 day incarceration, with a maximum of two years in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine. A third and subsequent offense has a minimum jail time of 90 days with a maximum of three years and $5,000 fine.

Sale and cultivation of marijuana carry even higher fines and punishment under federal law. First offenses can put someone in jail for five years, and large amounts can put someone in jail for life, with a one million dollar fine.

Virginia Marijuana Possession Laws

Possession of any amount of marijuana in Virginia is a misdemeanor. Jail time for a first possession offense can be up to 30 days, and comes with a maximum $500 fine. Any subsequent offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors.

Selling Marijuana in Virginia

Selling marijuana in Virginia is considered a worse crime because it enables others to break the law as well. Sale of up to half an ounce marijuana in Virginia is an automatic Class 1 misdemeanor. Sale of up to 5lbs of marijuana is Class5 felony. Anything sale over 5lbs comes with a 5-30 year jail sentence. Selling within 1000 yards of a school to a minor comes with much harsher penalties

However, giving someone marijuana is not as serious of an offense as selling marijuana. In Virginia, if the defendant can prove that they gave the alleged purchaser the marijuana for free, the defendant is only guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Looking Forward

SB 701 Cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil; permitting of pharmaceutical processors to manufacture and provide.
Introduced by: David W. Marsden | all patrons … notes | add to my profiles

SB 701 Concerns cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil; it permits pharmaceutical processors to manufacture and provide. Additionally it authorizes a pharmaceutical processor, after obtaining a permit from the Board of Pharmacy (the Board) and under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, to manufacture and provide cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil to be used for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Should bill should pass and not be vetoed in 2017 session.

If you would like to know more about Virginia marijuana laws, and how they intersect with federal laws, feel free to contact Cravens & Noll for a free consultation.

Cravens & Noll is a full-service law firm; we represent individuals and business; primarily civil litigation, personal injury, bankruptcy, family law, and business representation. Email us to schedule a free consultation.

Google Scholar: Search for Cases and Related Legal Publications

Google Scholar:  Search for Cases and Related Legal Publications

It is 2016 and most of us have taken advantage of Google to find information on a potential client, an old friend, a restaurant, vacation ideas, a news article, or even a movie. At Cravens and Noll P.C. we are using google to augment our legal research. In 2009, Google started to offer the ability for attorneys to search for U.S. case law as part of its Google Scholar search. 

You can now Google Scholar for Law Firmsconduct free searches for full-text opinions of cases and legal journals in addition to general articles and patents, which were previously available on Google Scholar. Searches are conducted the same exact way you would conduct a search on Google.com. There is no need for Boolean operators anymore if you don’t want to use them, and you still might get the exact case you’re looking for.  This article gives an overview on the new features Google Scholar provides for the legal research market.

Google Scholar now includes U.S. Supreme Court opinions since 1791 and U.S. federal district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy courts since 1923. Also included is U.S. state appellate and supreme court cases dating back to 1950. Cases are cited in Bluebook format, include internal page numbers, and are cross-linked within the database. In addition to case law, Google scholar provides links to secondary sources, such as law reviews and journals.

The cases themselves are displayed with the expected Google simplicity. Similar to Google docs, search terms that retrieved the case are highlighted throughout, and all footnotes are linked. google-scholar-e1430680940234

Is Scholar Useful? Google Scholar’s free search has drawn admiration and criticism from attorneys. On the positive side, Scholar employs the clean, simple, and fast user experience that Google is well known and admired for. Google Scholar does not require a login, allowing users to very quickly check a case name or cite.  

It is clear however, that Google Scholar will not replace commercial legal publishers such as LexisNexis® or Westlaw® any time soon. However many of the Virginia lawyers we spoke to in researching this article concluded that Google Scholar is a great place to conduct preliminary research, or to review new cases that have not yet been affected by precedent. Using free services first can help narrow and focus an attorney’s subsequent search.  And because it’s Google, we should expect to see more features and coverage in the future.

Why it’s Important

For attorneys, Google’s entrance into the legal information market should help to drive down research costs.  While it may not break up the LexisNexis® and Westlaw® grip right away, it does increase competition.  As Google expands its offerings, watch for smaller players to enter the market with free or low cost add-ons to supplement Google’s work.  Check out Google Scholar’s newest legal search features at: http://scholar.google.com.

Google Scholar can also be very helpful for non-lawyers who are interested in conducting their own research that is related their own issue or case. Google Scholar can assist an individual who is interested in finding out more about their own legal issue or case. However, it is important that a non-lawyer understands that interpreting a published case, and how that case may or may not impact their own case, can be difficult. Therefore, it is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal matter and how published court decisions impact an individual’s case.

I would be happy to answer any questions

Cravens & Noll is a full-service law firm; we represent individuals and business; primarily civil litigation, personal injury, bankruptcy, family law, and business representation. Email us to schedule a free consultation.