While the majority of Virginia voters support decriminalizing small amounts of medical cannabis, there are currently no laws in place that allow residents to legally access cannabis for recreational or medical purposes.
CBD from Hemp Oil in Virginia
Hemp CBD oil is federally legal in the U.S. Individual state laws, however, are dynamic and some states have and will enact their own laws regulating hemp-derived CBD. Virginia may govern hemp-derived CBD oil.
Medical Cannabis in Virginia
Virginia is yet to successfully pass a law that the cannabis community would recognize as true medical cannabis policy and disappointingly few legislative attempts have been made.
In early 2015, the state did pass what is considered to be one of the most conservative cannabidiol (CBD) laws. The law allows for an affirmative defense against prosecution for individuals who have intractable epilepsy, or guardians of those suffering from intractable epilepsy, so long as the product in question is a cannabis extract that contains more than 15% CBD and no more than 5% THC. Such products derived from cannabis are still illegal in the state; this law only serves to provide a legal defense for individuals and families suffering from intractable epilepsy.
Despite support for medical cannabis from the vast majority of Virginians, policy does not seem to reflect the will of the voters. A small consolation for Virginians, however, is that neighboring Washington D.C. legalized medical cannabis in 2010. Additionally, current governor Terry McAuliffe has said he’d like to legalize a statewide cannabis program for medical patients.
Recreational Cannabis in Virginia
Possession of cannabis in any amount is a misdemeanor in Virginia. Possession of less than half an ounce is punishable by 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 for the first offense, while subsequent offenses can result into as much as a year of incarceration and a maximum fine of $2,500. Conditional release can be offered to people facing their first offense, which removes the charge from an individual’s record after successfully completing probation.
A July 2016 Virginia Commonwealth University poll found that 8 of 10 Virginians support reducing the penalty for possessing small amounts of cannabis to a $100 fine instead of a misdemeanor conviction. Virginia lawmakers have introduced several decriminalization bills over the past couple of years, but none have garnered any real momentum.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Virginia
The cultivation of cannabis for personal or medicinal use is illegal in Virginia.
In 2015, the legislature of Virginia did pass Senate Bill 955, which allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp as part of a university-managed research program. Universities in Virginia may work with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish industrial hemp research programs.
- http://medicalCannabis.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881 – DC