December 31, 2023 4 min read

In Virginia, the realm of cannabis laws has undergone noteworthy transformations akin to the evolving patterns observed across the country. From stringent regulations to an increasing embrace of medical marijuana, the tapestry of Virginia's cannabis laws is intricate and diverse.

Come along as we explore the nuanced landscape of regulations, unveiling specifics about possession limits, cultivation guidelines, legal ramifications, and the intricate channels for obtaining and exchanging cannabis within the state.

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Virginia?
Virginia Cannabis Laws
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Where to Buy Cannabis Online

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for recreational and medical use in Virginia. 
  • Adults can buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis products. 
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 

Is Cannabis Legal in Virginia?

A person holding a pre-rolled joint legally purchased in Virginia state cannabis dispensaries for recreational use.

Yes, marijuana is legal in Virginia for both medicinal and adult-use purposes.

The state initially allowed marijuana oil extracts for epilepsy treatment in 2017, and by 2021, a comprehensive medical cannabis law was in place, allowing broader medical use. In 2021, laws were passed permitting adults 21 and older to possess and consume up to one ounce of marijuana, grow a limited number of plants at home, and share small amounts with others without payment. 

However, despite legalization, recreational sales aren't set to begin until January 1, 2024, due to delays in establishing regulatory frameworks. The Virginia House's change in leadership in 2021 stalled the creation of rules for adult-use sales, making it unlikely that recreational cannabis will be available for sale at the start of 2024.

Regulations for Adult Use

As stated previously, recreational sales will not begin until 2024. However, the cannabis laws in Virginia currently allow adults age 21 and up to:

  • possess up to one ounce in public.
  • use cannabis products in private spaces. 
  • cultivate up to four plants per household in a private, enclosed space that is inaccessible to those under the age of 21. Each plant must be tagged with the grower's details and the purpose of cultivation for personal use as authorized by law.
  • transport cannabis in a vehicle, within the possession limits, as long as it is in a closed container and out of reach of passengers. 
  • Gift up to one ounce of marijuana with another adult over 21, without financial exchange. 

Regulations for Medical Use

In Virginia, medical cannabis is legal for those with a medical card. Medical patients enjoy the same rights as adult use consumers, but may also:

  • Buy up to 4 ounces of cannabis every 30 days
  • Possess up to a 90 day supply, as determined by their doctor
  • Use cannabis if under the age of 21 with a doctor's recommendation. Users under 18 must designate a caregiver to purchase and administer cannabis. 
  • Consume cannabis in a private residence or approved medical facility. 

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis in Virginia

In Virginia, a doctor can recommend cannabis for:

  • A chronic condition for which the treatment could cause dependence.
  • Or a chronic medical condition that causes severe, debilitating psychiatric disorders.
  • Cachexia and anorexia
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Spinal cord injury

Restrictions

In Virgina, cannabis use is legal but regulated. Here are key restrictions:

  • Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana.
  • Consumption, purchase, or possession of marijuana for individuals under 21.
  • Distribution, sale, or possession with the intent to distribute/sell marijuana.
  • Public consumption, including in vehicles while driving or as a passenger.
  • Driving with an open marijuana container, except the original sealed manufacturer's container.
  • Possession of marijuana on public school grounds.
  • Manufacturing marijuana concentrate from home-cultivated plants.
  • Sale of recreational marijuana.

Virginia Cannabis Laws

  1. Possession with Prescription (Section 18.2-251.1): Lawful possession of medical marijuana with a valid doctor's prescription.
  1. Public Possession (Section 4.1-1100): Individuals aged 21 and above can possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in public. Violations may result in a civil penalty of up to $25. Possession of over one pound without proper licensing can lead to felony charges and hefty fines/imprisonment.
  1. Driving Under Influence (Section 4.1-1107): Prohibits consuming marijuana while driving on public roads or as a passenger in a vehicle on public roads.
  1. Public Consumption (Section 4.1-1108): It's unlawful to consume or offer marijuana in public places.
  1. School Premises (Sections 4.1-1109 &4.1-1110): Possessing or consuming marijuana on elementary/secondary school premises, during school activities, or while operating a school bus is illegal.
  1. Transportation Restrictions (Section 4.1-1112): Transporting marijuana in vehicles used for passenger transport is generally prohibited, with an exemption for specific cases, like when carried by a fare-paying passenger.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Virginia

Possession:

  • Decriminalization law reduces penalties for possession of over one ounce to a civil violation with a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.
  • Possession of over one pound without proper licensing can lead to felony charges and significant fines/imprisonment.

Sale/Delivery:

  • Distributing more than one ounce but less than 5 pounds is a Class 5 felony, punishable by at least one year but not more than 10 years in jail, or discretion by the judge.
  • Distributing larger quantities carries heavier sentences, ranging from 5 years to life imprisonment, depending on the amount and circumstances.
  • Distributing near schools or school bus stops carries mandatory minimum sentences and hefty fines.
  • Manufacturing marijuana for reasons other than personal use is a felony punishable by imprisonment and fines.

Trafficking:

  • Transporting large amounts into Virginia for distribution can lead to mandatory minimum sentences of 5 to 10 years, with substantial fines.

Hash & Concentrates:

  • Penalties for hashish and concentrates align with those for marijuana.

Paraphernalia:

  • Selling or possessing drug paraphernalia for illegal use is a misdemeanor or felony, with possible jail time and fines, especially if involving minors.
  • Advertising drug paraphernalia is also punishable by law.

Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. 

Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out ourElev8 andCloud9 Collections.

Vida Optima Cloud9 Delta-9-THC Gummies


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