Virginia approved medical access to CBD oil in 2018 but the first retail locations did not open until October 2020. Virginia also has an early-stage hemp industry. Virginia adult-use cannabis legalization took place on July 1, 2021 with respect to cultivation, possession and consumption of small quantities. A legal commercial market will require additional legislation with a target start date of 2024.
Legalization Dates:Medical use of CBD oil (House Bill 1445, 2017) – initially for epilepsy but expanded to any approved medical use in 2018. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners were approved to issue medical certification in July 2019 under SB 1557. SB 976 passed in 2020 allows license-holders to operate up to 5 facilities across their health service area
Decriminalized marijuana possession, 27th state to do so (Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972, May 2020, CNN Article).
July 1 , 2021 – Legalized personal use and possession (Senate Bill 1406 and House Bill 2312). Virginia Mercury overview of legalization details.
NORML maintains a list of Virginia Laws and Penalties.
Regulatory Bodies & Legislation:Medical – Virginia’s Board of Pharmacy
Adult-Use – Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, advised by a Health Advisory Council and Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board
Licensing Model:Medical – Limited licensing – Five licenses issued in five health service areas of the state and the first dispensary opened in October 2020. Virginia’s medical market does not have reciprocity with other legal states.
Adult-Use – To be determined
Example Firms: Medical Marijuana Licenses-Holders organized by state health district: 1. Eastern District – Cresco, through Columbia Care acquisition. Dispensaries including Portsmouth, VA. 2. Central District – Cresco, through Green Leaf Medical acquisition. Dispensaries including Richmond, VA. Oct 2020 Daily Progress article 3. Northern Health District – Beyond / Hello controlled by Dalitso, LLC which is majority owned by multi-state operator Jushi Holdings. Dispensaries including one in Manassas, VA 4. Southwest District – Dharma Pharmaceuticals aka RISE (Bristol, VA locally-owned). 5. Northeast District (including Staunton, VA area) – License currently vacant. It was held by MedMen, who acquired it from PharmaCann, but revoked in June 2020 due to lack of progress (details). 51 companies paid the initial $10,000 application fee to be considered for a Virginia license.

Hemp/CBD Products: D.C. Hemp, Green Valley Nutrition, River’s Bend Ranch (Stanley, VA, Farm Life magazine article), Albemarle Cannabis Company

Hemp/CBD Retailers: Skooma, Greener Things, Skyline Apothecary

Other: Altria Group, based in Virginia, invested in Canadian cannabis company Chronos in December 2018. Virginia Cannabis Group (advisory/consulting firm), Gentry Locke Consulting (consulting/legal/lobbying firm), DC/MD/VA-area cannabis technology companies
Industry Associations:Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition (Virginia Business article, advised by Hellebush Consulting), CannabizVA founded by KVCF Solutions (Richmond lobbying firm) , Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition
Academic ConnectionsPaul Seaborn – Assistant Professor, UVA McIntire School of Commerce – creator of this website
Michael P. Timko – UVA Lewis & Clark Professor Biology and expert in plant science of hemp, marijuana, tobacco, etc.
Pace Lochte – UVA Assistant VP, Economic Development
Bryan Berger – UVA Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering
Hemp at Virginia Tech
Notable EventsIndustrial Hemp Summit (organized by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research)
Tom Tom Foundation – Legalize it (full session replays available)
Hemp MarketIn 2018, Virginia producers grew about 135 acres of industrial hemp, all for research purposes. In 2019, that number was expected to soar to about 8,000 acres.
Can Hemp Bring Back the Economy in Appalachian Virginia? (UVA)
UVa harvesting first results from hemp, medical marijuana project (Oct 29, 2017)
ArticlesInside the ‘wild, wild west’ of Virginia’s marijuana market (Washington Post, Aug 26, 2022)
Medical cannabis companies amass political power in Va. (Virginia Business, May 4, 2022)
Virginia GOP Lawmakers Open To Allowing Marijuana Sales After Taking Control Of House (Virginia Mercury, Nov 11, 2021)
Northam signs bill to regulate CBD products as food (AP, April 16, 2020)
Virginia picks first 5 medical cannabis dispensaries (WHSV ABC, Sept 26, 2018)
As of October 4, 2022
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