Understanding Virginia’s Updated Marijuana Laws and Regulations

Understanding Virginia

Virginia’s cannabis laws have undergone significant changes. As of July 1, 2021, the Virginia General Assembly legalized the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. Furthermore, Virginians are now permitted to grow up to four marijuana plants per household. This development is part of a broader move towards more liberal cannabis policies in the state.

The establishment of the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) has been a crucial step in this process. As an independent, apolitical entity, the CCA’s role is to ensure public safety, advance public health, and protect communities through effective medical cannabis oversight. This includes implementing balanced and inclusive cannabis regulation, policy, and education initiatives.

Significant changes took effect on July 1, when Virginia’s marijuana laws were amended to allow adults aged 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate up to four plants per household. For detailed information on legal possession requirements, the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority offers comprehensive guidance.

The Code of Virginia outlines various laws and regulations under acts like Title 4.1, Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control, and Title 18.2, which covers Crimes and Offenses Generally. These include regulations on drug paraphernalia, general provisions of the Virginia Cannabis Control Act, and rules concerning the sale, distribution, and possession of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products.

A key legislative change was the reclassification of hemp under the Controlled Substances Act, removing it from the definition of marijuana. Federal law now defines hemp as part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, including all parts of the plant, seeds, derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, regardless of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration.

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Regarding taxation, Virginia could implement a total combined tax rate of 25 to 30 percent on marijuana sales, comprising a new 20 to 25 percent marijuana retail sales tax and the existing 5.3 percent standard sales tax. This rate aligns with the upper end of tax rates in other states that have legalized marijuana.

For medical cannabis, information for patients, parents, and legal guardians is provided under Section 54.1-3408.3 of the Code of Virginia. Patients, parents, or legal guardians possessing a valid written certification from a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner are allowed to possess medical cannabis.

Legalization in Virginia allows adults 21 and older to possess a small amount of recreational marijuana or cannabis and to cultivate a limited number of plants at home. The law, effective July 2021, permits the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. Furthermore, Virginia’s General Assembly could convene a workgroup to develop a model marijuana law enforcement officer policy and training curriculum, potentially including options for the expungement of previous marijuana offenses.

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