Is recreational use legal in Virginia? Is medicinal use legal in Virginia? What about CBD and THC? Find out everything you need to know here.
Also known as the Mother of Presidents and the Mother of States, Virginia was one of the original 13 colonies. It's the home state of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the first five presidents of the United States. In fact, Virginia is the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents – more than any other state.
Stretched across 42,775 square miles, Virginian landscape is known for its mountains, valleys, rivers and gorges. It has five main regions: Piedmont, the Coastal Plain (Tidewater), the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Valley and the Ridge and the Appalachian Plateau.
Virginia has a rich military and political history. The state capital, Richmond, became the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War, while over half of the battles were fought on Virginian land.
Now, the state is home to over 8.5 million citizens and is one of the most prominent states of the South. Virginia is a beautiful place to visit and is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the country's famous wilderness landscape and historical sites.
Situated on the East coast of the U.S., Virginia is surrounded by the neighbouring states of North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and Kentucky. While Virginia is apart of the nations conservative South, marijuana laws do exist, yet are restrictive.
Is recreational marijuana legal in Virginia?
No – but never say never!
The state's tolerance towards marijuana use has become a lot more progressive in recent years.
While adult use remains illegal, up until July 2020 penalties for marijuana possession were considered to be a criminal misdemeanor. Even small possession could be punishable with up to 30 days jail time, possible loss of licence, a hefty fine (up to USD$500) and a nice criminal record to boot. In fact, around 15,000 Virginian citizens were incarcerated between 2018-2019 for either a first or second charge for marijuana possession.
However, Democratic state leaders realised that these laws were becoming more detrimental to citizens and the state's judicial system. Small amounts of possession charges became damaging to vocational and educational opportunities, parental rights, and licence privileges. On the other hand, the judicial system was dealing with tens of thousands of incarcerations and court dates backing up the system.
For these reasons, state leaders made efforts to amend the state's Constitution. In 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation (Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972) to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Under these amendments, taking place as of July 1st 2020, marijuana possession up to one ounce is now considered as a civil violation. Offenders will be slapped with a USD$25 fine with no criminal record or jail time.
More serious violations – such as possession with the intention to distribute – still carry more serious ramifications. For example, intent to distribute charges for possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana can result in a USD$2500 fine and up to a year imprisonment. The harshness of the punishment is contingent on how much marijuana is found on the scene.
As it stands, marijuana decriminalization looks like the first step towards legalization. Recently, Governor Ralph Northam stated that he supports legalization, hinting that state leaders are "going to move forward with legalizing marijuana in Virginia."
This statement came shortly after the release of a study indicating that marijuana sales and tax revenue could serve as an economy booster and a job creator. Furthermore, revenue would be funded back into social equity programs that make efforts to aid the discrimination occurring in the judicial system.
Northam admitted that the current marijuana laws were made during a discriminatory time and the proposed amendments are made towards "undoing" social harms.
Is medicinal marijuana legal in Virginia?
Yes. In fact, despite it's conservative marijuana laws, Virginia was one of the first states to legalize access to medicinal marijuana in 1979.
However, its medicinal legality does not make allowances for the red tape surrounding marijuana. At the time, the law stipulated that patients were exempt from prosecution if they held a "valid prescription" for marijuana from a physician to treat glaucoma or chemotherapy-induced sickness. However, physicians could not legally prescribe anything unless it was FDA-approved, which (as you can guess) marijuana is not.
In 2017, state leaders signed a bill that allowed medicinal marijuana to be cultivated and dispensed throughout the state. Patients diagnosed with epilepsy were also permitted access to THCA and CBD oil. In 2018, Governor Northam signed a bill that allowed physicians to recommend medicinal marijuana to anyone who they found could therapeutically benefit from its treatment.
In 2019, another law passed that extends written certificates for medicinal marijuana to be provided by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Virginians can purchase marijuana products from licensed pharmaceutical processors. There are currently five approved pharmaceutical processors in the state.
The cannabis flower and any kind of smokable products remain illegal. However, Virginian patients have access to medicinal marijuana in the form of oils from extracts and concentrates. Under current laws, products can contain up to 15% CBD and THCA and can contain no more than 5% THC.
Virginia holds zero reciprocity with any other state, meaning that any medicinal cannabis products purchased in Virginia must be consumed within state lines.
Patients can purchase up to a 90-day supply (effective as of July 1st, 2020), however, anyone found in possession of cannabis products who is not a registered patient will cop the $USD25 fine.
Patients and parents/legal guardians of patients must be registered to the Board of Pharmacy. To register, patients must have a written certification from a registered physician before applying. Registration can be renewed every 12 months, patients must also pay a $50 annual fee while legal guardians must pay a $25 annual fee.
Is CBD legal?
Yes. Patients can access CBD and THCA oil with up to 15% CBD and 5% THC. As previously mentioned, any patient with a written certificate from a physician can have access to concentrates.
Patients, however, must be certified and registered with the Board of Pharmacy to purchase CBD concentrates. There is no restriction on the amount hemp-derived CBD oil a patient can purchase.
CBD oil can only be purchased from certified pharmaceutical processors in the state. As a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, all hemp-derived CBD products is available any store or online.
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