While the majority of Virginia voters support decriminalizing small amounts of medical marijuana, there are currently no laws in place that allow residents to legally access marijuana for recreational or medical purposes. CBD hemp oil, however, is legal to purchase and consume in all 50 U.S. states, including Virginia.
Recreational Marijuana in Virginia
Possession of marijuana in any amount is a misdemeanor in Virginia. Possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana is punishable by 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 for the first offense, while subsequent offenses can result into as much as a year of incarceration and a maximum fine of $2,500. Conditional release can be offered to people facing their first offense, which removes the charge from an individual’s record after successfully completing probation.
A July 2016 Virginia Commonwealth University poll found that 8 of 10 Virginians support reducing the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana to a $100 fine instead of a misdemeanor conviction. Virginia lawmakers have introduced several decriminalization bills over the past couple of years, but none have garnered any real momentum.
Medical Marijuana in Virginia
Virginia is yet to successfully pass a law that the cannabis community would recognize as true medical marijuana policy and disappointingly few legislative attempts have been made.
In early 2015, the state did pass what is considered to be one of the most conservative cannabidiol (CBD) laws. The law allows for an affirmative defense against prosecution for individuals who have intractable epilepsy, or guardians of those suffering from intractable epilepsy, so long as the product in question is a cannabis extract that contains more than 15% CBD and no more than 5% THC. Such products derived from marijuana are still illegal in the state; originally this law only served to provide a legal defense for individuals and families suffering from intractable epilepsy. In March 2018, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill expanding the program to include patients with any condition that practitioners believe would benefit from CBD.
Despite support for medical marijuana from the vast majority of Virginians, policy does not seem to reflect the will of the voters. A small consolation for Virginians, however, is that neighboring Washington D.C. legalized medical marijuana in 2010.
Consumption of CBD Hemp Oil in Virginia
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation and Distribution of Cannabis in Virginia
The cultivation of cannabis for personal or medicinal use is illegal in Virginia.
In 2015, the legislature of Virginia did pass Senate Bill 955, which allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp as part of a university-managed research program. Universities in Virginia may work with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish industrial hemp research programs.
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