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Marijuana Laws Across the DMV

Posted by Kathryn Batey | Dec 05, 2023 | 0 Comments

2023 ushered in new laws across the region when it comes to the possession, use, and sale of Marijuana. Washington DC and it's Maryland and Virginia suburbs, affectionately called the “DMV”, poses a unique challenge when it comes to marijuana use and cultivation. Each state/district has its own laws surrounding how much marijuana a person is allowed to have on their person, how many plants a person can grow, and different penalties for violations of those laws. When it's not uncommon for locals to travel between all three jurisdictions in a day, it can be difficult to keep track of what is legal in one place but subject to criminal penalties just a few miles down the road.

As with all laws, the devil is always in the details, and if you or a loved one has been charged with a violation of one of these laws, a good lawyer can help explain the nuances of the law and your possible defenses. Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation if you have been charged. Here is brief run down of the 2023 laws affecting marijuana use in the DMV: 


              On July 1st, 2023, Maryland changed its laws to legalize possession of 1.5 ounces of cannabis, 12g of concentrated cannabis, and products containing up to 750mg of Delta 9 THC. Homeowners in Maryland can possess up to 2 cannabis plants per household (not per person), or four plants per household for medical patients. Similarly, vape cartridges, oils, and edibles all became legal for purchase.

Maryland still punishes cannabis use in public, possession of amounts over 1.5 oz, and the sale of marijuana.


  •               1.5-2.5 oz – CIVIL OFFENSE - $250 fine
  •               2.5 oz – 50lbs – Misdemeanor – Max 1 year incarceration
  •               50lbs+ - Felony – Max 5 years of incarceration
  •               More than 2 plants per Household – Misdemeanor – 3 years

Note: Maximum penalties increase for subsequent offenders. 

  •               Public Consumption First offense – CIVIL OFFENSE – up to $250 fine
  •               Public Consumption Subsequent – CIVIL OFFENSE – up to $500 fine


  •               Less than 50lbs – Felony – Max 5 years
  •               Sale of  50lbs+ - Felony – Mandatory Minimum 20 years – Maximum 40 years
  •               Distribution Involving a Minor – Felony – Max 20 years
  •               In a school vehicle/within 1000 feet of school – Felony – Max 20 years



*Less than 1oz is legal to possess and use in Virginia*

  •               1oz – 4oz in public – CIVIL OFFENSE - $25
  •               4oz – 1lb in public, first offense – misdemeanor - $500 fine
  •               4oz – 1lbin public, subsequent offenses – misdemeanor – 6 months incarceration max
  •               1lb+ in public – felony – 1-10 years incarceration
  •               4-10 plants – first offense – CIVIL OFFENSE - $250 fine
  •               4-10 plants – 2nd offense – misdemeanor - $500 fine
  •               4-10 plants – 3rd and subsequent offenses – misdemeanor – 6 months incarceration
  •               10-49 plants – misdemeanor – up to 12 months
  •               49-100 plants – felony – 1-5 year
  •               100+ plants – felony 1-10 years


  •               1oz – 5lbs – Class 5 felony 1-10 year
  •               5lbs – 100kg Felony 5-30 years
  •               100kg+ - Felony – 20-Life
  •               To a minor at least 3 years younger – Felony 2-50 years
  •               Within 1000ft of a school or bus stop – felony 1-5 years



*2oz or less, or 6 plants or less are legal to possess in a legal residence in Washington DC*

  •               Public Use – Misdemeanor – no fine, no incarceration “cite and release”
  •               More than 2oz – Misdemeanor – up to 6 months incarceration  


  •               ½ lb or less – 1st offense – up to 6 months incarceration
  •               1/2lb or less – subsequent offense – up to 2 years incarceration
  •               1/2lb+ - 5 years incarceration.

It is important to remember that all states have criminalized driving under the influence of marijuana and that the possession, use, or sale of any amount is still prohibited under Federal Law.

Even as the laws evolve towards increased legalization for marijuana use and cultivation, many aspects of its use, sale, and growth still carry criminal penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with possession, use, or distribution of Marijuana, Call us Today at 240-200-4077 for a free consultation.

About the Author

Kathryn Batey

Kathryn Batey, the owner and firm practioner, has spent the entirety of her legal career defending clients against the justice system.  Kathryn graduated from American University's Washington College of law in 2012 and went to work immediately for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, where...


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