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virginia marijuana laws
The 2019 legislative session adjourned on February 23. While both legalization and decriminalization bills were introduced this past session, those bills were defeated in committee. With increasing support from elected officials, the focus now shifts to 2020.
In June, Attorney General Mark Herring submitted an op-ed to the Daily Press urging the state to “decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, address past convictions and start moving toward legal and regulated adult-use.” Shortly after, lawmakers from both parties, including Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R), also voiced support for decriminalization. Gov. Ralph Northam also pushed for marijuana decriminalization in his 2019 State of the Commonwealth speech.
During the 2018 session, Virginia lawmakers greatly expanded upon a 2017 law that permitted patients suffering from intractable epilepsy to use some types of cannabis oil with a doctor’s certification. On March 9, 2018, Gov. Ralph Northam signed HB 1251, which provides that doctors can recommend CBD or THC-A cannabis oil for any condition. Patients can possess the oil if it meets the state's requirement of at least 15% CBD or THC-A and no more than 5% THC, and they have in their possession their doctor’s recommendation form (called a “written certification”).
The law was further expanded during the 2019 session with the passage of SB 1557. Effective July 1, 2019, physician's assistants and licensed nurse practitioners will also be authorized to issue a written certification for CBD and THC-A oil. Additionally, the bill requires the board to promulgate regulations establishing dosage limitations, which will require that each dispensed dose of CBD and THC oil not exceed 10 milligrams of THC.
Unfortunately, the law provides only an “affirmative defense,” a protection the defendant can raise during a criminal prosecution — however, it does not automatically prevent the patient from being stopped, arrested, and charged with marijuana possession by police.
Registration applications for patients, parents/legal guardians, and physicians are available now through the Board of Pharmacy. THC-A and CBD oil will be produced and sold in Virginia only by specially licensed businesses called “pharmaceutical processors.” Applications to become a pharmaceutical processor were open through June 8 2018; a $10,000 non-refundable application fee was required. The Board of Pharmacy has issued conditional approval to five pharmaceutical processors to produce and dispense these oils.
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Virginia named its first five CBD-only licensees. Seven companies are challenging a CBD licensing process in Virginia that resulted in multi-state medical marijuana operators getting a majority of available licenses.
how to start a marijuana business virginia
If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Virginia, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities.