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Is Weed Legal In Virginia

Is Weed Legal In Virginia YES

Virginia's laws regarding marijuana:

  • Recreational marijuana became legal in Virginia in July 2021 for adults 21 and over. The law allows possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and home cultivation of up to 4 plants per household.
  • Retail sales of recreational marijuana in Virginia are not expected to begin until 2024 at the earliest. Until then, there are no legal ways to purchase cannabis.
  • Medical marijuana is legal in Virginia for approved patients with a doctor's recommendation. Approved conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, chronic pain and others. Dispensaries opened to serve patients in 2020.
  • The Virginia Medical Cannabis Program oversees the state's medical marijuana system. Patients must register for medical cards allowing possession of up to 5 ounces over a 30 day period.
  • Only licensed medical dispensaries can provide legal medical marijuana products to registered Virginia patients. Approved products include oils, edibles, capsules, lozenges, topicals and suppositories. Flower is not allowed for smoking.
  • Home cultivation of up to 4 plants is allowed for registered medical marijuana patients in Virginia. No home grow is permitted for recreational consumers until 2024.
  • Public use of marijuana is prohibited in Virginia. It may only be consumed in private residences out of public view.
  • Driving under the influence remains illegal. Virginia has per se limits for THC levels while driving.
  • While marijuana is legalized at the state level, it remains illegal under federal law. Virginia's cannabis laws conflict with federal prohibition.

Marijuana is legal in Virgina Since April 2021

  • Hemp-sourced CBD: LEGAL
  • Marijuana-sourced CBD for medical use only: LEGAL
  • Marijuana-sourced for recreational use: LEGAL
  • On the federal level, CBD - Hemp and hemp-derived products (like CBD oil) that contain less than 0.3% THC is legal. This change, occurred in December 2018. But don’t automatically assume you’re in the clear when it comes to CBD. States can still pass their own regulations to ban hemp and CBD.

On April 7, 2021, both chambers of Virginia's General Assembly passed SB1406, with amendments put forth by Gov. Ralph Northam. Since the legislature approved the governor's amendments, no further action was needed to pass the law, a staff member for Northam confirmed. The amended legislation will allow Virginians age 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of recreational marijuana as of July 1, 2021. While the law will also allow residents to grow up to four cannabis plants, the measure as enacted doesn't establish a framework for licensing retail sales of adult-use marijuana.

Virginia originally legalized the medical use of CBD oil and THC-A oil to treat intractable epilepsy in 2015 (HB 1445). In 2018, Virginia passed a bill that broadly expanded the legalization of medical CBD oil to be prescribed for “any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use” (HB 1251). Virginia launched its industrial hemp pilot program after the 2014 Farm Bill was passed. Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Virginia.


In Virginia, the recreational use of marijuana is legal.

Virginia does, however, allow for the limited use of CBD oil, which is derived from the marijuana plant but which contains extremely low amounts of THC (the component that creates the "high"). More specifically, it's illegal for anyone to intentionally or knowingly possess marijuana (including CBD oil) unless it was obtained based on a valid prescription. A written certification that a patient can use CBD oil doesn't necessarily protect them from arrest; instead, it can be used as an affirmative defense in prosecution. Of note, when marijuana is found on property or in a vehicle, there's no presumption that the owner or occupant knowingly or intentionally possessed it.

What became legal on July 1, 2021?


  • Adults 21 years and older may possess not more than one ounce of cannabis for personal use.
  • Generally, adults 21 years and older may use marijuana in private residences. However, nothing prohibits the owner of a private residence from restricting the use of marijuana on its premises.
  • Adults 21 and over may grow up to four plants per household (not per person), according to specified requirements (see “Home Cultivation” below).
  • “Adult sharing” or transferring one ounce or less of marijuana between persons who are 21 years or older without remuneration is legal. "Adult sharing" does not include instances in which (i) marijuana is given away contemporaneously with another reciprocal transaction between the same parties; (ii) a gift of marijuana is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services; or (iii) a gift of marijuana is contingent upon a separate reciprocal transaction for goods or services.


  • It remains illegal for anyone to possess more than one ounce of marijuana. Individuals found guilty of possessing more than one ounce, but not more than one pound of marijuana are subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25. Individuals found guilty of possessing more than one pound are subject to a felony.
  • It remains illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume, purchase, or possess marijuana, or to attempt to consume, purchase or possess any amount of marijuana.
  • It remains illegal to distribute or sell marijuana, and/or to possess any amount of marijuana with the intent to distribute or sell it. This prohibition applies equally to businesses, which will not be permitted to sell, “gift,” or in any other way distribute marijuana.
  • Existing safety measures remain in place, including prohibiting use of marijuana while driving a motor vehicle or while being a passenger in a motor vehicle being driven; possessing marijuana on school grounds, while operating a school bus, in a motor vehicle transporting passengers for hire, or in a commercial vehicle.
  • It remains illegal to consume marijuana or offer marijuana to another person in any public place.

How will Virginia’s law protect public health and public safety?

Virginia’s adult-use legalization law created a Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council to advise the CCA on all health-related matters. The CCA in collaboration with the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council and interagency partners, is working on several public health initiatives including guidance on: (i) responsible adult consumption of cannabis; (ii) the health risks and dangers associated with cannabis consumption, including information on how cannabis consumption impairs a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle; and (iii) how cannabis consumption could have an adverse impact on ancillary matters such as causing a person to be ineligible for certain employment opportunities.

The CCA is leading an initiative to develop and implement a health, safety, and safe driving campaign in collaboration with interagency partners. It also will be developing guidance to ensure compliant home cultivation of marijuana plants that protects minors and discourages the creation of a public nuisance. 

I am interested in following along as Virginia develops the new authority and begins the regulatory process. Is there a way to receive updates when action is taken or when new guidance is available?

Enter your email address HERE to be added to an email list to receive updates about Virginia’s cannabis program as they are available.

Medical Cannabis

I have a medical condition. How do I get a medical card to obtain medical cannabis products?

To obtain cannabis for medical purposes, a patient must have both (a) an unexpired written certification issued from a board-registered practitioner and (b) a current active patient registration issued by the Board of Pharmacy. As of July 1, 2022, patients will no longer be required to have an active patient registration issued by the Board of Pharmacy. However, if you wish to obtain a physical medical cannabis card, you will need to complete an application with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy. You can find more information by visiting the Department of Health Professions: Board of Pharmacy’s website.

Can I get a license to sell medical cannabis?

The Code of Virginia allows for five pharmaceutical processor permits, one in each health service area established by the Department of Health to cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis to registered patients.  Currently, four of the health service areas have a permitted pharmaceutical processor and applications for the fifth permit were accepted through a Request for Application process from September 25, 2020 to December 4, 2020.  No additional applications are being accepted.  You can find more information about Virginia’s medical cannabis pharmaceutical processor program by visiting Department of Health Professions: Board of Pharmacy.

Adult-Use Cannabis Commercial Sales

Are non-medical sales to adults legal?

No. The 2022 General Assembly did not reenact the legislative framework for creating an adult-use retail market. It is possible the General Assembly my address this issue in its 2023 session, which begins next January.


Home Cultivation

Note that throughout the “Home Cultivation” section, “marijuana” refers only to the marijuana plant and not to products made with marijuana.

Can I grow marijuana at home?

“Home Cultivation” became legal on July 1, 2021. Adults 21 and over may now grow up to four marijuana plants per household (not per person), for personal use. Plants can be grown only at your main place of residence.

Someone who grows plants must:

  1. ensure that no plant is visible from a public way;
  2. take precautions to prevent unauthorized access by persons younger than 21 years of age; and
  3. attach to each plant a legible tag that includes the person's name, driver's license or ID number, and a notation that the marijuana plant is being grown for personal use as authorized by law.

It remains illegal to grow more than four plants, to sell or distribute marijuana grown at home, or to manufacture marijuana concentrate from home-cultivated marijuana. Individuals who chose to do so are subject to criminal penalties.

Where can I buy seeds or clones (young plants) to grow my own at home?

It is illegal to sell marijuana seeds, clones, flower, or any other part of the marijuana plant in Virginia.

Can I sell my home-grown marijuana to my friends?

No. Individuals who sell marijuana, or who possess with the intent to sell it, are subject to misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the amount of marijuana involved.

On July 1, 2021, “adult sharing,” or transferring one ounce or less of marijuana between persons who are 21 years or older without remuneration, became legal.

"Adult sharing" does not include instances in which:

  1. marijuana is given away contemporaneously with another reciprocal transaction between the same parties;
  2. a gift of marijuana is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services; or
  3. a gift of marijuana is contingent upon a separate reciprocal transaction for goods or services.



Virginia Code:

  • Section 18.2-247 (Terms)
  • Section 18.2-248.1 (Penalties for Sale, Gift, Distribution or Possession with Intent to Sell, Give or Distribute Marijuana)
  • Section 18.2-250.1 (Possession of Marijuana Unlawful)
  • Section 18.2-251.1 (Possession or Distribution of Marijuana for Medical Purposes Permitted)
Charges and Penalties for Possession

First-time possession of over 1 oz ounce of marijuana is a civil infraction.

Any subsequent conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Charges and Penalties for Sale or Distribution

The charges and penalties for the sale, distribution, or intent to sell or distribute marijuana are as follows:

  • Over 1 oz of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500;
  • More than 1 oz but 5 pounds or less is a Class 5 felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison OR upon the discretion of a judge or jury punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor; and
  • More than 5 pounds is a felony punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison.
Charges and Penalties for Cultivation

Commercial sales are set to begin January 2024.

Limited Use of Medicinal Marijuana Permitted

Under The Drug Control Act, certain patients can be prescribed CBD oil. This was originally for those with intractable epilepsy but was expanded to more conditions in March 2018. Patients must have a written certification from their doctor to legally use CBD oil.

Related Statute(s) Virginia Code Section 18.265.1, et seq. (Drug Paraphernalia)

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