It is legal for anyone in the commonwealth of Virginia to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis, which became the law on July 1, 2021. In June of 2022, the State Senate amended possession laws, deciding that up to 3 ounces will face a $25 fine, possession of 4 – 15 ounces is a misdemeanor, and possession of over a pound of cannabis is a felony. This change is awaiting the Governor’s signature to be signed into law
People who are under the age of 21 and are in possession of less than an ounce, will face a $25 fine and will be required to attend a substance abuse education program.
It is still illegal to consume cannabis in public.
Retail sales of cannabis will only begin 2024, but in June of 2022, the state legalized the sale of hemp-derived cannabinoids. This means lab-created THC, along with cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC will be legal before THC from the plant. The change is currently awaiting a signature from the Governor to become law.
In the meantime, Virginia residents will be able to legally grow up to 4 plants in the privacy of their home. The law states that the Virginia Board of Pharmacy will be in charge of licensing “retail marijuana stores,” and that the commonwealth will allow up to a maximum of 400 such licenses. Local municipalities will have the right to hold a referendum on whether or not to allow dispensaries within the boundaries of their jurisdiction.
The dispensaries will not be allowed to have drive-through sales windows, internet-based sales platforms, or delivery services. They will also not be able to sell more than an ounce of cannabis to an individual consumer per day.
The legislation also automatically seals past misdemeanor marijuana convictions and enacts a process for people to petition to have their records cleared of more serious charges.
The law also creates a number of regulatory bodies, including the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, the Cannabis Oversight Commission, the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council, the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board and Fund, and the Virginia Cannabis Equity Business Loan Program and Fund. It also sets up social equity provisions meant to help communities that have been most severely affected by the Drug War.
Virginia has had a medical marijuana program since 2015, when the commonwealth passed legislation to allow people to possess marijuana if it was obtained from a valid medical practitioner. At the time, only CBD oil and THC-A oil were classified as permitted forms of cannabis. Further legislation passed in 2016 and 2017 allowed for the opening of five “pharmaceutical processors” to produce and dispense the oils in Virginia.
Under a bill passed in 2021, medical marijuana patients in Virginia can now possess “no more than four ounces of botanical cannabis” for each 30-day period, and no more than a 90-day supply of cannabis oil.
How to Get a Medical Card in Virginia
To be eligible for a medical marijuana license in Virginia, patients must submit an application online with the state Board of Pharmacy.
The registration fee for the program costs $50 and the annual renewal fee is $50. For parents or guardians of a patient, the registration and renewal both cost $25.
Virginia allows for use of medical cannabis for “the treatment or alleviation of symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the physician to benefit from such use.”
This potentially makes the program far more open than those in many other states. With a physician’s written certification, patients can purchase and possess regulated Virginia-grown cannabis products (CBD and THC-A oils).
Where to Buy
The first state-approved medical cannabis dispensaries opened in October, 2020. There were currently four in the state as of July 2021:
- BEYOND / HELLO in Manassas
- Dharma Pharmaceuticals in Bristol
- Green Leaf Medical of Virginia in Richmond
- Columbia Care Eastern Virginia, in Portsmouth
Virginia does not recognize medical marijuana cards from other states, but since February, 2021, Washington DC has extended reciprocity to Virginia residents.
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