Getting Started Growing Marijuana in Virginia (Yes, It's About to be Legal)
The VA Adult-Use Bill Legalizes Home Cultivation Starting July 1. Here's What You Need to Know.
Residents of Virginia are excited for adult-use marijuana to be legal starting on July 1, 2021. However, it still won’t be legal to purchase cannabis products without a Virginia marijuana card until much later, probably in Spring 2024.
While there are plenty of other benefits to having a VA marijuana card besides better access, you don’t need one in order to bypass the dispensary by growing your own marijuana plants, starting on July 1 this year.
On April 7, 2021, the Virginia Legislature passed adult-use legislation that, among other things, allows all Virginia residents 21 and older to cultivate up to four marijuana plants for personal use. This means that by the end of summer, you could be enjoying your own homegrown buds.
In this post, we are going to take a look at how to get started growing your own marijuana plants in Virginia, and what the new adult-use laws do and don’t do to protect you once they go into effect.
An American Dream: Growing Your Own Marijuana Plants
George Washington strolling among his lush hemp plants at Mount Vernon likely had no notion of the road ahead for cannabis. Until the prohibition of all things cannabis, hemp was one of the country’s most important cash crops.
Historical documents don’t indicate that Washington had any notion of using the plant for anything other than industrial purposes like rope and other fabric. However, we imagine that our current conflict over cannabis would be a big surprise to Washington, at a time in history when plant medicine was the only medicine.
Most people only dream of growing their own cannabis plants. And many who do grow them are doing so illegally. However, as long as you follow the guidelines and regulations set forth by the state of Virginia, you can participate in forging a new path—and a new history—for marijuana in the Commonwealth.
How to Get Started Growing Marijuana in Virginia
Until July 1, 2021, you can’t technically put your seeds in the ground. However, any good gardener knows that preparation is one key to a successful growing season. And you’ve got decisions to make!
Where Can You Grow Marijuana Plants?
One of the main restrictions on growing marijuana in VA, according to senate bill 1406 and house bill 2312, will be precisely where you can grow them. You must take precautions to ensure that no one under 21 has access to the plants, and they must not be visible from any public location with the unaided eye.
Can You Grow Marijuana Plants Outdoors in Virginia?
You can grow your plants outdoors as long as they can’t be seen from the road, a business, school, church, or other public building, and as long as they are in some sort of locked enclosure. This may be easier to achieve for people in Arcadia than in Norfolk, but not to worry, city-dwellers. You have plenty of indoor options, too!
Growing Cannabis Inside
There are lots of choices to make when setting up an indoor grow space, and some special considerations when using grow lights.
Because you need to make sure minors do not have access to your plants, it might be a good idea to choose a location you can keep locked. Additionally, the heat coming from grow lights can be a fire hazard, so you want to make sure your grow space is not full of flammables. Check out these other safety tips to keep in mind when planning your grow space.
You don’t actually need a whole lot of space, and a regular-sized closet is plenty for four plants. Basements and garages are another popular choice, but keep in mind that it isn’t safe to store gasoline and other flammable liquids in the same space as your plants.
The Best of Both Worlds - Grow Boxes
Grow boxes are an excellent way to make sure your plants are secure, while also keeping things safe. You can purchase grow boxes that are made for indoor or outdoor use, or you can simply make your own custom grow box to suit your needs.
How Many Cannabis Plants Can You Grow in Virginia?
When the cultivation law goes into effect on July 1, you will be able to grow up to four plants for personal use. This is the limit of the number of plants per household, so you can’t grow more than four plants even if there is more than one adult in your household.
The big question is, “What constitutes a household?” By most definitions, it includes people who live in the same home and share finances. If this is the case, then some homes may be able to grow more than four plants depending on their living arrangements.
Keep your limits in mind as you plan your cultivation this year. You probably won’t need more than one good grow light. That, and four ten-gallon buckets with soil, are really everything you need to get started. Well, and seeds. You’ll definitely want some seeds as well.
Labeling Requirements for Growing Cannabis in VA
The other thing you need in order to comply with cultivation legalization in Virginia, is proper labeling. Each of your plants must be tagged with your name, driver’s license or state ID number, and a statement that the plants are for personal use.
When Will Your Cannabis be Ready for Harvest?
In Virginia, you can’t start growing marijuana at home until July 1. This means that you technically cannot put seed in soil until then.
The amount of time it takes to grow your plants will depend heavily on the methods you use. Hydroponic systems can take as little as two to three months. Growing outside and counting on natural sun and rain, it could take as long as six months for your plants to mature.
It will probably be too late to start your plants from seed by July 2021 if you intend to grow outdoors, but you can always prepare to start your outdoor garden in Spring 2022.
If you grow inside, you could be ready to harvest your first homegrown buds as early as September!
What Can You Make With Homegrown Buds in Virginia?
One of the most exciting things about growing your own cannabis plants is that you have all the flexibility in the world in regard to what you can make with your buds! Virginia Marijuana Card will be posting plenty of articles about DIY cannabis products in the future, so stay tuned for how-tos about making tinctures, extracts, rosin, edibles, and more.
Do You Need a Marijuana Card to Grow Your Own Cannabis in Virginia?
You do not need a marijuana card in order to grow your own cannabis in Virginia. Adults 21 and over will legally be allowed to cultivate up to four marijuana plants starting on July 1. You cannot grow plants any sooner even if you do have a Virginia marijuana card, because the medical marijuana program does not have any clauses allowing for home cultivation.
Why Get a Virginia Marijuana Card if You Can Grow Your Own Marijuana Without One?
There are several benefits to having a Virginia marijuana card, even if you plan to grow your own marijuana and adult-use possession is legal.
Access to Marijuana Products Now
Dispensaries will not be licensed to sell adult-use/recreational products until 2024, and home-cultivation will not yield buds until September at the earliest. You don’t have to spend the summer with your aches, pains, and anxiety wishing you had legal access to cannabis, though.
If you have a VA marijuana card, you can legally purchase a wide selection of cannabis products at Virginia dispensaries right now. Inventory is expanding, and flower may even be available by summer’s end.
Even after the adult-use law goes into effect in July, your employer can test and terminate you for the presence of THC in your system. However, having a marijuana card may provide some protection from adverse action being taken against you if you are using medical marijuana on your own time and off the clock.
There are several exceptions, including people who work in the transportation industry, safety workers, and those who work for Federal contractors. And Virginia is an at-will state, which means that your employment can be terminated for just about any reason. However, Governor Northam signed a bill earlier this year that may prevent you from getting fired if you test positive for THC—provided you have a marijuana card.
Higher Possession Limits
When you have a marijuana card, you can possess up to four ounces of flower. The adult-use law will only allow for possession of one ounce.
Look Ahead to Growing Your Own Plants, But Get a VA Marijuana Card to Make the Most of Virginia Cannabis Laws
If you have a VA marijuana card, you really can make the most of the progressive legislation that Virginia has recently passed. Plan to get your garden in order for the summer, but get a marijuana card now, to start reaping the benefits of cannabis before harvest.
Give us a call at (888) 633-5808,, or simply make an appointment online for a marijuana evaluation with one of our compassionate telehealth doctors.
Happy Growing, Virginia!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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