Updated September 2019
While adult-use cannabis remains illegal in Virginia, the state does have in place a limited medical cannabis program accessible to patients who obtain a recommendation from a physician. Learn more about Virginia marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in Virginia
Is marijuana legal in Virginia? No. In Virginia, possession of marijuana in any amount is a misdemeanor. 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 in as much as a year of incarceration and a maximum fine of $2,500. A 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
Over recent years, Virginia has established and advanced patient-focused medical cannabis policies.
In early 2015, the state passed a highly conservative low-THC medical cannabis laws. The law only allowed 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 they’re in possession of is a cannabis extract that contains no more than 5 percent THC. Despite this law providing a legal defense, products derived from marijuana remained illegal in the state.
Since then, Virginia has expanded its medical cannabis program. In March 2018, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill expanding the program to include patients with any condition that practitioners believe would benefit from cannabis, not just those diagnosed with epilepsy. In March 2019, the governor signed a bill (SB 1557) that allows Virginians to obtain a certificate for use of THC-A and other cannabinoid products from a doctor, physician assistant, or licensed nurse practitioner. The new law also expanded the type of accessible products to include oils, capsules, lozenges, patches, lollipops, and more. The bill also ups the cap on amounts of THC within each serving of a THC-A product to 10 mg.
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.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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