The Status of Marijuana Laws & Cannabis Legalization in VA
In recent Virginia cannabis news, Senate Bill 1133 was passed. This legislation establishes a framework for the creation of a retail marijuana market in the Commonwealth, which would be administered by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. The bill allows the Authority to begin issuing marijuana licenses on July 1, 2024.
Until COVID-19, Virginia’s strictly limited cannabis program was one of the most restrictive in the U.S. Though the state decriminalized small amounts of cannabis before COVID-19, fining residents the lowest U.S. fine of $25, it still had a limited list of qualifying conditions. But that changed. Now that list can now be broadened based on a physician’s diagnosis and approval.
According to the bill, SB 1557, the medical cannabis program now “authorizes licensed physician assistants and licensed nurse practitioners to issue a written certification for use of cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil,” and “the bill requires the Board to promulgate regulations establishing dosage limitations, which shall require that each dispensed dose of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil not exceed 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol.”
On April 7, 2021, the state house voted to create an automatic expungement of criminal records for misdemeanors. It allows VA residents to expunge their criminal records with the police and state regarding marijuana possession, along with underage possession charges of alcohol or tobacco. This is set to begin on July 1, 2022 and cannabis possession charges should be automatically expunged no later than July 1, 2026.
In addition to decriminalization, Virginia has approved the sale, cultivation, and manufacture of retail marijuana sales that is set to begin on January 1, 2024.
In April 2022, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed two pieces of legislation—HB 933 and SB 671—that eliminated the requirement that MMJ patients register with the Board of Pharmacy after receiving their written certification from a registered practitioner.
According to an update posted on the Virigina Board of Pharmacy’s website, “As of July 1, 2022, medical cannabis patients, parents or legal guardians are no longer required to register with the Board of Pharmacy. A Written Certification for the Use of Medical Cannabis from a Registered Practitioner for Medical Cannabis will still be required and must be presented at the dispensary, along with a government-issued ID, to obtain medical cannabis products. Showing proof of registration with the Board of Pharmacy will no longer be required.”
Patients who desire a physical MMJ card can request one by registering with the Board of Pharmacy for a fee of $50.
Please check out our dispensary locator to find the Virginia medical cannabis dispensary that is the closest to you.