Marijuana Laws in Virginia

Virginia lawmakers passed HB 2312allowing for retail sales to begin in 2024.

Under this law, possession of up to one ounce would be legalized. Cannabis would be legalized for those 21 and older, and a tax system would be implemented for retail cannabis sales, allotting 30% of tax revenue to a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund. Under Virginia’s new law, adults ages 21 and over can possess an ounce or less of marijuana beginning on July 1, rather than July. 1, 2021.

The bill sets a 21 percent excise tax on marijuana and allows municipalities to add an additional 3 percent tax on retailers on top of existing sales taxes.

 Automatic expungement is provided for all past low-level cannabis offenses, aiming to aid those affected most harshly by cannabis laws. Cultivation at a private residence is allowed under this bill, but capped at no more than four plants per household. Public consumption would still carry a $25 fine. 

A 5 person committee is proposed to oversee the adult-use marijuana market, issuing fines and determining license eligibility. This committee would also be responsible for establishing licensees, noted in the bill to not exceed 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 cultivators, or 60 product manufacturers. Under this law, edibles must comply with a five milligram per serving, and a 50 milligram per package limit.

Hemp Cultivation

Applications are open for Industrial Hemp Growers, Dealers, and Processors at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.

Application Status

  • The Virginia Board of Pharmacy has closed applications for Pharmaceutical Processor Licenses for medical marijuana.

Application Fees/Start up Costs

  • $50 application fee for Industrial Hemp Growers, Dealers, and Processors

Available License Types

  • Cultivation Class A (regulating a certain amount of plants per square feet)
  • Cultivation Class B (regarding 1% THC) 
  • Retail License 
  • Wholesale License
  • Manufacturer License
  • Cannabis Lab  
  • Hemp Dealers

Vertical integration would be allowed in limited circumstances including micro-businesses. Priority licensing is given to “Social Equity Applicants” defined as individuals with a prior cannabis conviction, relation to someone who has a prior cannabis conviction, maintains residence in an area that is disproportionately affected by cannabis arrests, or has graduated from a Virginia HBCU. Applicants who fall under this term will receive licensing priority from July 1st, 2023 to December 31st, 2023. Regulators are also allowed to waive certain percentages of application fees for Social Equity Applicants.

Previous License Types

  • The Virginia Board of Pharmacy closed applications for Pharmaceutical Processor Licenses on June 8, 2018. The five licensed companies are: PharmaCann Virginia, Dalitso, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical of Virginia, and Columbia Care.  
  • As of April 30, 2019, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services granted 689 grower licenses and 92 processor licenses. Dealer licenses are new to the program and have not been issued yet.

Medical Qualifying Conditions 

  • As of July 1, 2019, physician authorizations for medical marijuana are no longer restricted to specific qualifying conditions.

Virginia Market

  • VDACS permitted 689 growers in 2019, with roughly 7,000 acres planned for cultivation. The hemp market is still nascent and highly volatile, with wholesale prices for processors dropping from $35 per pound to $8-12 per pound, due to an oversupply in the hemp harvest and a shortage of processors.

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