CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield man arrested and charged with a variety of marijuana-related crimes after police searched his Winterpock Road home had his charge reduced in court.
Charles Miller, Jr., 57, was believed to be the first person in Chesterfield to be charged with possession following the state's July 1 partial legalization of marijuana.
Miller was initially charged with two felonies:
- Having 50-100 marijuana plants
- Possession with intent to distribute more than 5 pounds of marijuana.
Online court records show both charges were reduced to misdemeanors on October 5, 2021. Miller was found guilty of having 11-49 plants, and possession with intent to distribute less than an ounce.
Miller received a one-year jail sentence, but all but 10 days were suspended.
He was also fined $1,000.
Under Virginia's new law, adults 21+ are permitted to possess up to four plants per household. Miller had 10x that amount, according to police.
"An officer arrived and found nine plants that appeared to be marijuana plants in the bed of his truck; the plants were not labeled. The complainant, who jointly owns the residence with Miller, reported that additional marijuana plants were inside the house," a Chesterfield Police spokesperson wrote in an email about the arrest. "Inside the house, police found 43 additional plants that appeared to be marijuana plants, as well as roughly 1.5 pounds of bagged material that appeared to be marijuana."
Prior to the new marijuana law taking effect, Chesterfield Police produced a video that warned people in the county to "read the fine print," when it came to marijuana.
"I think a lot of people think that marijuana just has been legalized wholesale, like throughout the Commonwealth and that's absolutely not true," Chesterfield Police Chief Colonel Jeffery Katz said earlier this summer.
Under Virginia’s marijuana legalization laws, home cultivation of four plants is permitted, if the plants are labeled, out of public view, and away from children.
Virginians 21-years or older are also allowed to gift less than an ounce of marijuana to another person in private.
Smoking marijuana in public, underage marijuana use, and driving during or after using marijuana remain against the law.
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