Safe and Compliant Home Cultivation
Subject to certain limitations and conditions, Virginia law permits home cultivation of cannabis. Although the CCA does not endorse home cultivation, this document serves to help individuals interested in home cultivation understand how to cultivate safely and compliantly.
Ancillary Adverse Effects of Use
Although limited personal possession and use of cannabis are legal under Virginia law, an individual's choice to consume cannabis may impact the person's rights and privileges in a variety of contexts. This document describes how cannabis consumption could affect your rights and privileges concerning education, employment, housing, firearms ownership, immigration, and military service.
The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) launched its safe driving campaign in late 2022. Mandated by the 2021 General Assembly and consistent with the CCA’s mission to promote public health and safety, the campaign aims to inform both marijuana users and the general public of the dangers of driving after marijuana use and to encourage plans for a sober ride.
VIRGINIA DRIVERS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS MARIJUANA USE AND DRIVING
Over 750 Virginians aged 16 and older were surveyed during the months of August and September 2022 to learn more about Virginians’ attitudes towards driving after marijuana use. The survey revealed that 23% of respondents reported using marijuana in the past three months, and about 14% of Virginians surveyed have driven high a few times or more in the past year. Nearly one-third of those surveyed believe marijuana makes them a safer driver. The survey findings also showed that Virginians do not perceive marijuana-impaired driving to be nearly as dangerous as other risky behaviors. While 60% of respondents judge texting and driving and 49% regard alcohol-impaired driving to be “extremely dangerous,” only 26% of Virginians view marijuana-impaired driving as extremely dangerous. Additional survey findings suggest that many Virginians who use marijuana do not plan for safe travel, with 47% of marijuana users surveyed reporting they do not always have a plan for a sober ride and 24% of respondents indicating they have been a passenger in a car operated by a high driver more than once in the past year. For more information on the impaired driving survey, click on the safe driving infographic or the detailed report on safe driving below.
EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA ON THE ABILITY TO DRIVE
Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal and unsafe. Cannabis can negatively affect a person’s ability to drive or operate machinery safely by slowing reaction time, altering decision making, impairing coordination, and disrupting perception.[i],[ii] More research is needed to fully understand the connection between THC concentration and driving impairment. However, studies show an association between cannabis use and car crashes and an association between the use of multiple substances and increased impairment.[i],[iii],[iv] For more information on how marijuana can impact driving, see the "Marijuana Use and Driving" fact sheet below.
LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF DRIVING AFTER MARIJUANA USE
It is illegal in Virginia to consume marijuana or marijuana products while operating a motor vehicle or while traveling as a passenger in a motor vehicle. An individual charged with a first-time offense of driving under the influence of marijuana is subject to a class one misdemeanor. Class one misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500, with a mandatory fine of $250. A first-time offense also results in the loss of driving privileges for one year. For more information on the consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana, visit the “Marijuana Use and Driving” fact sheet below.
[i] Compton, R. P. (2017). Marijuana-impaired driving-a report to congress (No. DOT HS 812 440). United States. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 19). Driving. Marijuana and Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/driving.html.
[iii] Lacey, J. H., Kelley-Baker, T., Berning, A., Romano, E., Ramirez, A., Yao, J., ... & Compton, R. (2016). Drug and alcohol crash risk: A case-control study (No. DOT HS 812 355). United States. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Office of Behavioral Safety Research.
[iv] Preuss, U. W., Huestis, M. A., Schneider, M., Hermann, D., Lutz, B., Hasan, A., ... & Hoch, E. (2021). Cannabis use and Car crashes: a review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 643315.
The CCA has developed additional public health and public safety resources related to cannabis and cannabis-related products. These resources, also known as fact sheets, provide an overview of frequently asked question from the public.