Virginia Cannabis Laws FAQ
Virginia became the first state in the South to legalize recreational cannabis after the state legislature passed HB2312 and SB 1406 on April 7, 2021. The new marijuana law takes effect on July 1. The following is an overview of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding cannabis in Virginia.
Who can possess, purchase, or otherwise use cannabis in Virginia?
Adults who are at least 21 years old can possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use, which is only allowed in private residences (unless prohibited by the property owner). Eligible adults may also transfer one ounce or less of cannabis between other eligible adults, which is known as “adult sharing.”
Who cannot possess, purchase, or otherwise use cannabis in Virginia?
However, possession of more than one ounce—but not more than one pound of cannabis—carries a civil fine of up to $25. Possession of more than one pound of marijuana is a felony offense.
Whether it’s an individual or business, selling and distributing cannabis is also illegal. Anyone under 21 years of age is prohibited from possessing, consuming, or purchasing marijuana.
What happens to the criminal records of individuals convicted of simple possession?
On July 1, 2021, Virginia State Police’s systems will automatically seal all records of arrests, charges, and convictions involving misdemeanor possession with intent to distribute marijuana from public view.
In 2020, criminal records involving simple possession of cannabis were sealed.
By July 1, 2025, all records for simple possession and misdemeanor possession with intent to distribute in state and private databases will be automatically sealed.
When will sales of cannabis start?
Legal sale of marijuana will not begin until January 1, 2024. The Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) needs ample time to hire staff, create regulations, and execute initiatives regarding safety and equity.
Furthermore, many regulation sections of the bill must be approved again by the 2022 General Assembly prior to becoming law.
When can I apply for a marijuana business license?
If the 2022 General Assembly session leads to the reenactment of the licensing provisions, then you may be able to apply for a cannabis business license in 2023. More guidance and instructions on how to start a marijuana business will be released prior to the beginning of the application period.
Do I need to take any steps before applying for a license in 2023?
Currently, no. Starting this summer, the CCA will have the next two years to hire staff, start the regulatory process, and begin directly engaging with stakeholders.
Do I have to pay an application fee?
Although the new law establishes application fees to start a cannabis business, it depends on the type of business you apply for and your application status.
For instance, if you or a business qualifies as a “social equity applicant,” then you may qualify for waived or reduced fees, as well as technical support via a Business Equity & Diversity Support Team at the CCA.
Again, the details of the license process need to be approved again by the 2022 General Assembly before becoming law.
Will profits from marijuana taxes be invested in the community?
Yes, the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund will use 30 percent of all tax profits to address disproportionate enforcement of drug laws and economic disinvestment within Virginia.
Can I apply for a medical marijuana license to sell?
No. As of June 8, 2021, only five companies are allowed to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana to registered patients under Virginia’s medical cannabis pharmaceutical process program.
Can I grow cannabis at home?
As of July 1, 2021, adults who are at least 21 can grow up to four (4) marijuana plants per household for personal use.
If you are interested in cultivation, you must make sure your plants are out of public view, persons younger than 21 cannot access your plants. You must label each plant with your name, driver’s license or ID number, and note that the plant is for personal use.
Where can I purchase seeds or clones for home cultivation?
Again, legal sale of any part of the marijuana plant, including seeds and clones, will not start until January 1, 2024. Keep in mind, it is against federal law to transport cannabis across state lines.
If you are interested in starting or investing in a cannabis business in Virginia, contact Virginia Cannabis Lawyers™ today at (540) 920-1700 to learn how we can help you! Our legal team has more than two decades of legal experience in the cannabis industry.
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