Virginia Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS VIRGINIA'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Virginia’s recently legalized medical cannabis program will open for operations in July 2020. The program was originally approved in 2017, but only allowed specific cannabis oils to be recommended to those suffering with intractable epilepsy.
In April 2020, Governor Northam signed multiple bills into law bringing much needed and celebrated reforms to the program. In an attempt to broaden the patient pool, effective July 2020 doctors can recommend CBD or THC-A oils containing at least five milligrams of CBD or THC-A, and no more than ten milligrams of THC per dose to patients with any condition. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners will also be allowed to issue patient cannabis recommendations. The licensing of 25 dispensing locations was also approved in the April bills. The Virginia Board of Pharmacy has approved five production and dispensing organizations to be the first to conduct sales come July 2020.
WHAT ARE VIRGINIA'S CANNABIS LAWS?
Many amendments were made to cannabis laws in 2020, which will significantly shift the path of the medical cannabis market in Virginia. On May 20, 2020. Governor Northam signed HB 972 into law, which extended the state’s study on the effects of cannabis legalization, and prohibited criminal charges for simple possession charges with only a $35 penalty.
Under the new laws which go into effect on July 1, 2020, substances previously considered hash or marijuana are more clearly defined, and criminal records of past marijuana offenders are sealed.
WHAT IS VIRGINIA'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
The application window is currently closed, however, 25 additional dispensary licenses were approved in 2020 with the approval of a revised version of SB 976 . Point7 will have updates as to when the process is open.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN VIRGINIA?
In 2015, Governor McAuliffe signed defense bills to ensure patients using CBD and THC-A oils to treat epilepsy were protected from possession charges. Efforts for further cannabis legislation slowed until 2019 when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced plans for cannabis legalization in the near future. A Cannabis Summit was held in December 2019 to discuss the state’s plans to decriminalize cannabis, and pathways toward legalization including the principle of social equity.
In February 2020, decriminalization efforts moved forward when the House of Delegates voted 64-34 in favor of HB 972, which decriminalizes personal possession of cannabis. The bill was signed into law in April 2020 by Governor Northam and will take effect July 1, 2020.
In the 2021 session, legislators are expected to discuss further legalization paths through house bills, HB 87 and HB 269.
DOES VIRGINIA HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE VIRGINIA CANNABIS MARKET?
With more medical licenses available in the near future and legalization efforts being moved forward, the possibility for a thriving cannabis business in Virginia is inevitable. Point7 has the products and service packages to ensure you begin the application journey timely and effectively. Contact us to discuss the early steps that can happen prior to legalization.