One of the most asked questions about the Old Dominion is – is weed legal in Virginia? Can I purchase and consume my cannabis there? Whether you’re asking from a medical or recreational perspective, it would be appropriate for you to know the truth behind it!
So, we did due diligence and prepared this article so you don’t have to go someplace else! Or worse – be caught with the laid-out plans and penalties for possessing marijuana!
Legalization of Marijuana in Virginia
Being nicknamed as the Old Dominion, you wouldn’t think of the state to be as liberated as the other states neighboring it. In fact, when it comes to marijuana, Virginia has been one of the few states that accepted the beneficial factors and aspects the substance has.
In the mid-1990s, the Virginia General Assembly worked in tightening the laws on marijuana, adding a provision that allowed the use and distribution of it for cancer and glaucoma. This was following the passed legislation in 1979 where doctors were given the green light to recommend marijuana for the side effects of chemotherapy.
While this is the case, the separate body of the federal law disallowed it, still placing it under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug.
But, in March 2015, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the Senate Bill (SB) 1235 and House Bill (HB) 1445, which created defenses against charges in possessing CBD or cannabidiol oil, as well as THC-A oil for qualified patients.
Following that, in 2018, the Virginia State Board of Pharmacy gave a thumbs up on the applications of five (5) companies in opening medical cannabis dispensaries across the state. However, the first medical dispensary wouldn’t become operational until August 2020.
This was what made Virginia the 34th state that’s equipped with effective medical cannabis programs.
Is Weed Legal in Virginia?
Yes – and this goes for both medical and recreational cannabis! This is music to most people’s ears, especially those who regularly visit the state because of friends and family.
There are, however, certain rules and regulations that apply to how the substance is deemed “legal.” Let’s talk about that further and deeper for you to have a clearer and better understanding of the state’s view regarding it.
What is Legal: Marijuana in Virginia
Let’s talk about the things that are allowed and legal in the state of Virginia when it comes to marijuana. Remember, it’s not always something about the type you’re carrying, but also in terms of who you are as a person and the total amount you have.
- Adults who are 21 years old or older can carry up to a maximum of one (1) ounce of marijuana.
- Private home growing is allowed. Up to four (4) plants can be grown; it cannot be seen from the street and MUST NOT BE accessible to people who are 21 years old and below.
- Smoking marijuana in the vicinity of adults’ homes is allowed.
- Sharing of up to an ounce of marijuana is allowed, given that no exchange of money or anything of value will happen.
What is Illegal: Marijuana in Virginia
Now, let’s talk about the illegals of possessing and/or consuming marijuana in the state of Virginia.
- Underage people (21 years old and below) cannot possess, consume, or purchase any form of marijuana
- Having more than one (1) ounce of marijuana
- Distributing, selling, or possessing any amount of marijuana
- Smoking in public, driving, and while being a passenger (even when parked)
- Driving with an open container (without the originally-sealed manufacturer container)
- Possessing marijuana on the grounds of a public/private school
Cannabis-Related Penalties in Virginia
Those illegal or illicit activities will result in various fines and penalties; penalties, in which, will vary depending on the severity, amount of marijuana, and the weight of the situation. To help you with it much further, here are the penalties involved when caught with or possessing marijuana in an illegal manner.
Penalties For Illegal Possession
It will be everyone’s responsibility to know and check the amount of marijuana they possess or carry. NO reason is valid to people “not knowing,” how much they’re carrying.
A civil penalty of up to $25 can be imposed to someone who has more than one (1) ounce but less than four (4) ounces of marijuana.
More than four (4) ounces of marijuana but not more than one (1) pound is classified as Class 3 misdemeanor for the first offense, but Class 2 misdemeanor for the 2nd.
More than one (1) pound of marijuana is felony; it will incur jail time that can last for one (1) year at the minimum, but not longer than 10 years and a fine of up to $250K, or both.
Penalties For Plant Cultivation
Possessing more than four (4) plants per household will incur a penalty. The penalty amount will vary depending on the number of plants a household went over.
Medical Marijuana in Virginia
Since the approval of medical marijuana in the state of Virginia, people had been itching to get a hold of a Virginia-granted medical marijuana card, giving them the freedom to have marijuana – of course, under all the legalities involved.
The first step in applying for a medical marijuana card is to find a registered practitioner and obtain a valid written certification.
- Access https://www.license.dhp.virginia.gov/apply/ to start the registration process. If you’re not yet in the system, you will be directed to enter the “Initial Registration” screen.
- Once done, click Initial Application from the left hand-side of the page. This will open a new screen and here’s what you should click on and select:
- Choose Pharmaceutical Processing-Cannabis Oil
- For patients, choose Cannabis Oil – Patient
- For parents or legal guardians, choose Cannabis Oil – Parent/Guardian
- Choose Initial Application for the Obtained By dropdown Start Application
- Complete this process and pay the necessary fees ($25 for parents/legal guardians; $50 for patients).
- Submit photocopies of the following documents:
- Written certification for cannabis products from the registered practitioner
- Proof of identity
- Proof of residency of the qualifying patient and residency of legal guardian or parent
- Government-issued ID or tax receipt
- Valid Virginia Driver’s License
Wait for at least 60 business days for the processing of the application. In the event that the VBP or the Virginia Board of Pharmacy requires more documents, they’ll be contacting you.
NOTE: DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS Send photocopies of the documents.
The Bottom Line
Although the state already allowed the possession and cultivation of marijuana for adults, the decision to wait ‘til the year 2024 to begin sales is on the line. This decision is designed to help and aid regulators and lawmakers at least three (3) years to set the market up.
So, if you’re asking the question – is weed legal in Virginia? The short and simple answer to that is yes, it is. You’re allowed to carry and possess a specific amount of marijuana if you are 21 years old or even older for recreational purposes.
Medically, speaking, though, you just need to have a medical marijuana card and you’ll have no problems!