Virginia Marijuana Legalization FAQs

September 20, 2021 Cannabis Business, Entrepreneurs, Legalization

Now that Virginia marijuana legalization is just on the horizon before marijuana sales begin, it’s important to understand the rules in place. The Cannabis Control Authority of Virginia will regulate marijuana plants, marijuana sales, and other key aspects of this budding space’s regulatory framework.

In this post, we cover some of the most frequently asked questions about selling marijuana, possessing products made from the marijuana plant, commercial sales, and more. Keep reading to learn how the legal sale of this formerly prohibited plant will look once the new law takes effect.

Looking to break into the Virginia legal marijuana space in this southern state? Northstar is ready to help you get your share of the green rush!

Contact us now to learn how we’ll use processes and financial organization to scale your operation in time for the CCA to issue business licenses!

Virginia Marijuana Legalization

Virginia Marijuana Legalization

Now that Virginia is on the path to legalize marijuana, the state will go beyond allowing minimizing marijuana-related offenses. The licensing provisions will eventually allow for the legal sale of these products, and while it’s still currently illegal to possess marijuana in some places, the state will stop restricting marijuana businesses from operating once the regulatory framework is in place.

For now, here’s what Virginia’s law on cannabis will allow:

✓ Adults (21+) to possess marijuana (up to one ounce) in public;

✓ Adult-sharing of no more than an ounce in private without remuneration;

✓ The continuation of the state’s medical cannabis program that allows medical marijuana purchases at Virginia dispensaries; and

✓ Personal cultivation of up to four plants per household by adults 21+ at their primary residence.

what remains illegal under virginia marijuana legalization

What Remains Illegal?

While it’s big news that marijuana-related offenses will no longer be so commonplace, much remains illegal, including the following:

X Public consumption

X Buying or selling cannabis seeds or cannabis products

X Gifting schemes to give cannabis away

X Possession of cannabis on school grounds or a school bus

X Consumption in a motor vehicle while being driven (passenger or driver)

X Open cannabis containers in a vehicle

X Possession or consumption of marijuana by persons younger than 21

X Buying or selling cannabis outside of the state’s medical program

X Sharing or offering marijuana in public

Personal Cultivation Guidelines for Marijuana Plants in Virginia

Personal Cultivation Guidelines for Marijuana Plants

Now you know you can’t use marijuana on school grounds, on a school bus, or while driving. But what about growing it at your private residence? What does this entail?

Here’s some more insight into personal cultivation guidelines for those who want to grow at their private residence:

  • Each plant needs a tag with the owner’s name, driver’s license/state ID number, and for personal use;
  • Plants must be hidden from the public;
  • Prevent unauthorized access by any persons under 21;
  • Cultivation is allowed indoors or outdoors but rental housing or an apartment owned by someone else can prohibit grow operations; and
  • Cultivation is only allowed at the person’s primary residence.

Motor Vehicle Transporting Passengers/Commercial Vehicle Possessing Marijuana School Bus

Motor Vehicle Transporting Passengers/Commercial Vehicle Possessing Marijuana

Marijuana-related offenses can occur on the road, and in some cases, they can result in driver’s license forfeiture. Here’s a list of the complete regulations in effect with Virginia’s law:

  • It’s illegal to drive while impaired;
  • Drivers or passengers cannot consume marijuana or possess an open container of cannabis while a vehicle is in operation;
  • Cannabis transportation must be done in a completely sealed (preferably locked) container located in the trunk of a passenger vehicle, or in the area behind the last upright seat of a hatchback, station wagon, SUV, passenger van, or similar vehicle out of the driver’s reach.

 Adult-Sharing Guidelines

  • Adults 21+ may share up to one ounce of cannabis in private, much like they could share a bottle of wine
  • Cannabis may not be offered to or shared with anyone in public
  • There may not be any exchange of goods or services (no gifting schemes)

Other Common Virginia Marijuana Questions

Where can I buy cannabis in Virginia?

Legal retail sales are only allowed by licensed dispensaries to registered medical marijuana patients. To receive your certification for the medical cannabis program, you’ll need to speak with a licensed medical practitioner.

Can I order cannabis from a legal state?

No. Importing or transporting cannabis across state lines is still illegal.

Can I buy seeds in Virginia?

No. At this point, until the 2022 General Assembly confirms it once more, retail sales are not allowed in Virginia.

Can I order seeds online?

No. Even if the site says you’re allowed to order seeds to grow your four plants per household, it’s still not legal to order seeds online.

Can my business give away or sell seeds or clones?

No, “Adult sharing” does not include giving away or selling seeds or clones. The list prohibiting this includes the following (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.

Is it legal to give away seeds, plants, or cannabis in public?

No, it’s illegal to offer cannabis in public. Here’s the exact rule:

4.1-1108. Consuming marijuana or marijuana products, or offering to another, in a public place; penalty.

  1. No person shall consume marijuana or a marijuana product or offer marijuana or a marijuana product to another, whether accepted or not, at or in any public place.
  2. Any person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25 for a first offense. A person who is convicted under this section of a second offense is subject to a $25 civil penalty and shall be ordered to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program or both, if available, that in the opinion of the court best suits the needs of the accused. A person convicted under this section of a third or subsequent offense is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Can I open a consumption venue for cannabis?

No. “Public place” includes any place, building, or conveyance that the public has, or is permitted to have, access. This also includes restaurants, hotel dining areas, hotel lobbies, and corridors. But the definition also includes any park, place of public resort or amusement, highway, street, lane, or sidewalk adjoining any highway, street, or lane.

My plants will produce more than one ounce. Is that legal?

The law explains that “a person 21 years of age or older may lawfully possess on his person or in any public place not more than an ounce of marijuana.” However, the state lacks a law specific to what an adult 21+ may possess in private. Keep in mind, you cannot have more than an ounce on your person for personal use at any time. And if you get caught with intent to distribute, you may need legal counsel.

How much marijuana concentrate/edible can I possess?

Until the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority implements its regulations during the legalization process, there isn’t an equivalent possession limit specification. Virginia officials have defined the limit for legal possession on their person or in public by adults 21+ as one ounce of marijuana until regulations regarding other cannabis products can be enacted.

What about paraphernalia?

There’s a new definition for “marijuana paraphernalia” that went into effect on July 1, 2021. It removes the term “marijuana” from § 18.2-265.1 but still requires reenactment by the 2022 General Assembly for it to become law. However, the intent of this legislation was not to legalize cannabis consumption, possession, and cultivation of cannabis by adults 21 years of age and older while keeping these devices illegal

4.1-600. Definitions. (Effective July 1, 2021)

“Marijuana paraphernalia” means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind that are either designed for use or are intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, strength testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body marijuana.

Can I be fired for testing positive?

Yes. Limited employment protections are only extended to registered medical cannabis patients.

40.1-27.4. Discipline for employee’s medicinal use of cannabis oil prohibited.

  1. As used in this section, “cannabis oil” means the same as that term is defined in § 54.1-3408.3.
  2. No employer shall discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee for such employee’s lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner for the treatment or to eliminate the symptoms of the employee’s diagnosed condition or disease pursuant to § 54.1-3408.3.
  3. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, nothing in this section shall (i) restrict an employer’s ability to take any adverse employment action for any work impairment caused by the use of cannabis oil or to prohibit possession during work hours, (ii) require an employer to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law or that would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding, or (iii) require any defense industrial base sector employer or prospective employer, as defined by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, to hire or retain any applicant or employee who tests positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in excess of 50 ng/ml for a urine test or 10 pg/mg for a hair test.

Will I lose my guns?

Losing your guns as a result of cannabis legalization doesn’t seem likely. You’ll need to answer background check questions about marijuana use, but it’s doubtful that you’ll need to worry about losing your guns as a cannabis consumer or business operator.

Concluding on Virginia Marijuana Legalization

As a consumer, you’ll experience more freedom with the plant than ever before. You can hold up to an ounce of marijuana on your person, grow it at home, and consume it. It won’t be long until you’ll be able to start making your purchases at a local dispensary.

For business operators looking to get involved in Virginia’s cannabis space, the opportunities are just on the horizon. Once the 2022 General Assembly reconfirms legalization and implements the state’s regulations, we can expect the social equity program to take precedence as cannabis business licenses are awarded.

Social equity is essential for Virginia as intent to distribute and simple possession violations have historically impacted certain communities more than others. With this in mind, those originally sentenced to prison for simple possession or other cannabis-related offenses experienced the worst this industry has to offer.

Looking to become involved in Virginia’s cannabis space? Northstar is here to guide your success!

Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how your budding operation will scale with the right financial services and processes in place.

Interested in state cannabis laws? Make sure to check out our other Virginia posts, too!

Virginia Marijuana Laws, Penalties, & Sales