Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Virginia Now?
The Adult-Use Legalization Bill has Passed the VA Legislature, but When Will it Be Legal to Purchase and Possess Marijuana?
With all the big news about cannabis legalization in Virginia, residents might be confused about what’s legal and what is not when it comes to marijuana use. In this article, we are going to answer the big question that seems to be on everyone’s mind—Is recreational marijuana legal in Virginia now?
Since October 2020, people who qualify for medical marijuana in Virginia have been enjoying the benefits of legal cannabis to treat and manage their symptoms. Dispensaries carry tinctures, topicals and edibles, and recent legislation means that they will soon carry flower as well.
But what about recreational marijuana? Keep reading to learn more about what’s legal for Virginians as of April 2021, and what to expect for the future of cannabis in the state.
Is Adult-Use Marijuana the Same as Recreational Marijuana?
Before we dive into the Virginia cannabis laws, let’s clear one small bit of confusion up. Recreational marijuana is different from adult-use marijuana in name and connotation only. The term “recreational marijuana” ignores the fact that some adults use marijuana for therapeutic purposes even without a medical marijuana card.
This is why the term “adult-use” was adopted to refer to marijuana that is not regulated by the medical program. It is now an understood fact that marijuana use is not entirely fun and games for everyone who uses it. In fact, some research indicates that more people use cannabis for therapeutic purposes than to get high.
Adult-Use Marijuana Will Be Legal to Possess Starting July 1, 2021
The Virginia Legislature voted to approve an amended bill that Governor Northam submitted for adult-use marijuana to be legalized by a 20-20 vote, with the Lieutenant Governor breaking the tie. This made Virginia the 17th state in the US, and the first in the South, to legalize adult-use marijuana.
The timeline for legalization, however, is a little lopsided. Here is a quick breakdown:
Starting on July 1, 2021
You can possess up to one ounce of marijuana without having to account for where it came from or pay a $25 misdemeanor possession fine.
You can cultivate your own cannabis plants for personal use.
Misdemeanor possession with intent to distribute records will begin to be sealed
Starting in 2022
People who are currently incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses will be able to request a resentencing hearing.
Starting in 2024
Producers and dispensaries will begin to get licensed for adult-use manufacturing and sales.
Starting in 2025
This is the deadline for misdemeanor records to be automatically expunged.
People who have had felony charges and convictions related to possession and distribution of marijuana can begin to request expungement.
As you can see, there is a lag of about three years between the time you can possess marijuana, and the time you can purchase it. This means that the only legal way to get marijuana between now and then, is to grow the plants yourself or get a Virginia marijuana card.
Having a Virginia Marijuana Card Means Legal Access to Cannabis Right Now
You don’t have to wait for the relief you deserve today. In addition to having legal access to medical marijuana at Virginia dispensaries, a Virginia marijuana card protects you from adverse action being taken by your employer if you test positive for THC in a drug screening.
Make an appointment for a telehealth evaluation today, and talk to one of our doctors from the privacy of your own home about how cannabis can help you live a healthier life.
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!
Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!