top of page
  • Bailey Porras

Medical Marijuana vs Recreational-Why You Should Still Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Virginia

As of July 1, 2022, Virginia residents will legally be able to possess a small amount of cannabis and cultivate a small number of marijuana plants in their home. This legislation was signed into law back in April and allows Virginians to possess up to one ounce of recreational marijuana.

You must be at least 21 in order to benefit from this new legislation, and Virginia residents may grow up to four cannabis plants in their home. The plants cannot be visible from the street and must not be accessible to anyone under 21. They also must have a tag with your name, driver’s license number, and a note stating that the plant is being grown for personal use.

Recreational marijuana dispensaries are scheduled to open sometime during 2024.

Fines and Penalties

Although the legalization of recreational marijuana in Virginia is an example of how the stigma against cannabis is becoming less apparent, there are still many fines and penalties regarding recreational possession and more.

Here is some information on penalties from the Loudoun County website:

  • Possessing more than an ounce but less than a pound of marijuana may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $25.

  • Possessing more than a pound of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

  • Penalties for possessing more than four plants are set based on the number of plants.

  • Possession of marijuana on school grounds is a criminal misdemeanor.

  • Note: Anyone younger than 21 who is found to possess marijuana may face a civil penalty of up to $25 and be required to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program.

Differences In THC and CBD Content

There are many differences between medical and recreational marijuana, but one of the biggest has to do with CBD and THC content.

Recreational marijuana has been known to have higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD. THC is the ingredient that makes you feel high. Even though THC can be useful for medicinal purposes, the psychoactive effects may not be ideal for someone who is using marijuana for health purposes.

If you are looking for relief for your qualifying condition and the symptoms that come with it, you would be better served by getting your medical marijuana card. Medicinal marijuana has higher CBD content and does not usually contain a ton of THC.

You stand to gain more from a product with a higher CBD level, because CBD has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation, anxiety, and more.

Legal Differences

Another huge difference between recreational and medicinal marijuana is legality. There are still many restrictive laws concerning recreational marijuana, while medical marijuana is becoming more widely accepted with every year.

Medical marijuana is much more easily accessible. Medical marijuana dispensaries make it easy for you to find the right product, with staff that understand your condition and what will work best for you.

If you have a medical marijuana card and were referred by a physician, you have much more protection from any sort of legal fines or penalties.


There are huge differences between the quality of recreational and medicinal marijuana. Even though both types undergo the same growing process, cultivation and production can look very different.

Cannabis that is meant for medicinal purposes will undergo a much more strict process before it is put on retail shelves. Medical marijuana plants are usually grown indoors in a controlled environment, whereas recreational marijuana is often grown outdoors.

Medical marijuana is also checked and monitored for things like pesticide use and safety for patients. Generally, there is much more care when cultivating and processing plants for medical use, and medical marijuana will always be more pure and safer to ingest than recreational products.

Differences in Shopping Experience

When you shop for medical marijuana, your local dispensary employees are trained to be knowledgeable about their products. In fact, employees have to undergo vetting and training, attend seminars, and acquire certain certifications in order to work at a medical marijuana dispensary.

Because of this, you can walk into a dispensary knowing very little about cannabis and an employee will be able to help guide you and point you toward products that will benefit you most.

The shopping experience for medical marijuana is much more personalized and medical marijuana dispensary employees cater to your specific needs. You can tell them your condition and symptoms, and they will offer suggestions based on what you tell them.

However, when shopping for recreational marijuana, employees are specifically told not to give any medical advice to customers. They can answer questions about products, but they will not be able to make suggestions based on your needs or personalize your experience like medicinal dispensary employees can.

More Perks and Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana patients enjoy many perks such as lower prices and taxes on cannabis products.

Medical marijuana also offers safe access to cannabis for minors with approved conditions, so that they, too can get some relief.

Patients with a medical marijuana card are generally allowed to grow more plants at home than recreational marijuana users.


Although the legalization of recreational cannabis is a win for the state overall, it is still worth getting your Virginia marijuana card to ensure you get the most out of your medicine.

Your medical card will allow you to develop a personalized plan for marijuana use that can fit your schedule and lifestyle best.

Schedule an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our experienced, compassionate cannabis doctors. You’ll meet with your new doctor via a telemedicine appointment, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You’ll learn if you qualify for a Virginia Marijuana Card (and get one if you do) without even leaving your home!


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 the 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!

193 views0 comments


bottom of page