Virginia marijuana laws

Published on September 4, 2020 · Last updated August 12, 2022

Current legality status


Cannabis is legal under state law for adults 21+.

Recreational cannabis became legal in Virginia for all adults on July 1, 2021. Anyone 21 or older may legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis. Local residents may homegrow up to 4 plants per household.

While it is legal to possess and homegrow, it’s not yet legal to sell. The state legislature decreed that retail sales should not begin until the year 2024. There’s no logical reason for this, other than the fact that anti-legalization politicians wanted to slow-walk the opening of retail stores.

Medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to purchase cannabis. Four medical marijuana dispensaries were open as of Feb. 2021. They are licensed to sell patients CBD and limited-THC oil and byproducts, including lozenges, capsules, and patches.

The penalties for marijuana in Virginia are still harsh, regardless of recent legislation. Personal possession of more than half an ounce and up to five pounds of marijuana flower can result in up to 10 years in jail and a $2,500 fine.

More than five pounds can be punishable up to 30 years in jail. Any form of manufacturing, selling, distributing or gifting is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and $500,00 in fines. Penalties increase with subsequent offenses.

Despite a peak of almost 29,000 cannabis arrests in 2018, arrests were down to approximately 26,500 in 2019.

Virginia qualifying conditions for medical marijuana

Cannabis oil and derived products were made legal in 2020 for registered medical marijuana patients. Diagnosed and debilitating conditions may qualify. These include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Cachexia and wasting syndrome,
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Chronic Pain
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Tourette Syndrome

How to get a medical marijuana card in Virginia

Virginia doesn’t make it easy to procure medicine.

  1. First you’ll need to register an account on the Virginia Department of Health Professions (DHP) Initial Applications site. This includes your social security number. The fee is $50.
  2. Once registered, select “Registered Patient for Cannabis Oil” from the license type to begin the application process.
  3. The application requires ID that shows proof of age, residency, and a recommendation from a registered practitioner on the Board of Pharmacy.
  4. This can take up to two weeks to process. Recommendations must be renewed annually.

Does Virginia accept out-of-state medical cards?

Definitely not, they barely accept their own.

When does my Virginia medical marijuana card expire?

Medical marijuana cards in Virginia must be renewed annually for registered patients to maintain access to cannabis oil.

Virginia marijuana growing laws

As of July 1, 2021, Virginians 21 and older will be allowed to homegrow 4 plants per household.

Virginia public consumption laws

Consumption of flower is prohibited everywhere, even in the home, and flower is not legally available even to medical patients. Medical patients can consume their oils at home. 

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Virginia cannabis DUI laws

Virginia defines driving while intoxicated or under the influence as “If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. You may be considered under the influence with a lower BAC if your ability to operate a motor vehicle, boat or water craft is impaired.”

A medical patient registration with the medical marijuana program does not protect an individual from driving while intoxicated.

Virginia, like other states, has implied consent laws when it comes to breathalyzers or chemical tests to determine blood-alcohol concentration. Refusing a breathalyzer will result in a 1-year license suspension. Driving while intoxicated by a drug, cannabis included, results in the same penalties as alcohol.


  • First offense: Class 1 misdemeanor, $250 fine, and up to 10 days in jail if BAC level is above 0.15%, driver’s license revocation for one year.
  • Second offense within five years: Mandatory minimum 20 days in jail up to one year, $500 fine, driver’s license revocation for three years.
  • Third offense within 10 years: Class 6 felony, 90-day minimum in jail, indefinite license revocation, and a minimum $1,000 fine.

Virginia cannabis testing regulations

Currently, there are no cannabis products for sale in Virginia, so the testing regulations are unclear, although the limited 10mg dose of THC in ingestible products means some form of testing must occur.

Legislation over the last two years has clarified industry supply chains and infrastructure to create those regulations.

Common questions about marijuana legalization in Virginia

Can medical patients grow in Virginia?

As of July 1, 2021, all Virginians, regardless of their medical status, will be able to legally homegrow 4 plants per household.

Is Virginia a medical state?

Yes, but it had no dispensaries and offered no products prior to 2020. Starting in late 2020, registered patients were able to buy oils, capsules, patches, and lozenges at the state’s medical dispensaries.

Can you get a medical card with a felony in Virginia?

Some states allow felons to get medical marijuana cards, some don’t. Since Virginia does not have a regulated system for medical marijuana, it is up to the medical professional to make the recommendation.

Can you get a medical card for anxiety in Virginia?

Yes, anxiety is a qualifying condition in Virginia.

Keep up with the latest news about legalization in Virginia

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Post last updated Sept. 6, 2020

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