Medical Marijuana in Virginia
The State of Virginia has been on the front-lines of medicinal use of cannabis since the 1970s. After multiple failed attempts to pass decriminalization laws in 2015, Virginians found hope when Governor Terry McAuliffe passed HB 1445 and SB 1235 which provided an affirmative defense for epilepsy patients in possession of CBD or THC-A oil with a doctor’s recommendation. In 2017, Gov. McAuliffe signed SB 1027, a bill that enabled patients suffering from intractable epilepsy to access cannabidiol (“CBD”) or THC-A oil.
By 2018, Governor McAuliffe signed HB 1251, expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD) or THC-A oil for the treatment of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by a medical practitioner. As of July 1, 2019, patients may enroll in the program with the state Board of Pharmacy with their physician’s authorization.
On July 1, 2019, three (3) medical marijuana bills signed by Governor Ralph Northam went into effect. Each bill expands Virginia’s medical marijuana program. The first bill allows school healthcare providers to administer medical marijuana oil to registered patients while at school. The second bill, known as the “Let Doctors Decide” bill, allows Virginia doctors to recommend medical marijuana oil for any diagnosed condition or disease. The last bill allows “registered agents” to receive medical marijuana oil on behalf of a patient, often referred to as a “caregiver” in other states. By May of 2020, Governor Northam signed SB2, which made Virginia the 27th state to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession.
Recreational Marijuana in Virginia
In April of 2021, Virginia became the first southern state to legalize adult-use and possession of cannabis. On July 1, 2021, the law went into effect which allowed those aged twenty-one (21) and up to use marijuana so long as they are compliant with state regulations. In addition, the new law established the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to begin creating regulations for Virginia’s recreational cannabis industry. In 2022 and 2023, the General Assembly failed to reenact specific provisions in the bill such as retail sales of marijuana, which has halted the creation of an adult-use commercial retail market due to the lack of a licensing scheme and regulatory oversight. As such, the residents of Virginia who do not have a medical marijuana card are unable to purchase marijuana until such market is created at a later date. Such actions by the lawmakers pushes back the original January 2024 retail sale date as provided in the 2021 legislation.
Applications for Marijuana Business Licenses
Currently, there is no open application for Marijuana Business Licenses in Virginia. However, many successful groups begin putting together comprehensive business plans and seeking out strategic partners in the state well in advance of applying for a marijuana business license. Schedule a time to discuss your options with us here!
Last Updated: July 26th, 2023