is weed legal in virginia

Is Weed Legal In Virginia: Full Guide

Table of Contents

Although Virginia was home to England’s first colony in the New World, it’s lagging behind on providing cannabis to its people. The rules have been sticky and slow to develop in Virginia, so where are they now with legalization of recreational and medical marijuana?

Here’s everything you need to know about smoking weed in the Old Dominion state. 

Is Weed Legal in Virginia? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: Yes
  • Medical THC: Yes
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: Yes, but there are limitations

Medical Weed Laws

Medical marijuana is legal in Virginia. In fact, Virginia legalized cannabis in 1979, allowing medical professionals to prescribe it to treat glaucoma or chemotherapy side effects. In 2020, a more formal medical marijuana program was legalized and established. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a medical marijuana card or to act as a caregiver for a patient. Minors may apply with parental approval. 

Qualifying medical conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Arthritis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • PTSD
  • Chronic Pain

To obtain a medical marijuana card in Virginia, potential patients must first meet with a health care practitioner to verify a qualifying condition. Patients may then fill out an online application to receive their card and may then shop in one of Virginia’s dispensing cannabis pharmacies. Patients are allowed to buy up to 4 ounces of cannabis flower every 30 days. 

Recreational Weed Laws

Ralph Northam (D) approved a bill on July 1, 2021, making the plant legally recognized. In Virginia, adults 21 and older are permitted to possess a small amount of cannabis for recreational use and to grow a small number of cannabis plants in their home. 

Virginia Code states that until such controls can be implemented, people 21 and older may only legally carry one ounce of marijuana on their person or in public. The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority was founded by the 2021 Virginia General Assembly, who acknowledged it as the primary government jurisdiction on cannabis and gave it vast authority to create, issue, and enforce cannabis regulations in Virginia.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Virginia?

Weed was decriminalized in Virginia in 2020. However, in 2022, republican Governor Glenn Youngkin reinstated criminal penalties for actions involving the private possession of more than four ounces of marijuana in public. According to the new law, public possession of cannabis weighing more than four ounces but less than one pound is a Class 3 misdemeanor that carries a $500 punishment. Class 2 misdemeanors are second or subsequent offenses, which are punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Cannabinoid Variants

Although hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, they have very different rules and regulations regarding production, sale, and distribution. For example, a CBD product made from marijuana is only legal in states with a governed medical marijuana or adult-use program and sold in a licensed dispensary. However, a CBD product made from hemp is sellable just about anywhere. 

What about the other cannabinoids? See below for Virginia’s laws surrounding cannabinoid variants. 

Is CBD legal in Virginia?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products. 

Is Delta-8 legal in Virginia?

Delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana. When derived from hemp, it is largely protected under the Farm Bill. Virginia law prohibits the sale of edible hemp products shaped like people, animals, or fruits; this restriction is similar to one that applies to adult-use THC edibles. Only adults over 21 can smoke or consume hemp products. 

Is Delta-10 legal in Virginia? 

In essence, yes, Delta-10 THC is legal in Virginia because, like the majority of states, Virginia abides by the 2018 Farm Bill. This made the use of the hemp plant and all products derived from it with a maximum Delta-9 THC content of 0.3%. Therefore, regardless of the product form, milligram strength, or level of possession, Delta-10 is legal for all adult citizens.

Is THC-O legal in Virginia? 

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Is HHC legal in Virginia?

HHC is legal in Virginia. According to state law, hemp-derived products with a THC content of less than 0.3% are legal. Other isomers like Delta 8, 10, and THC-O are also legal under this regulation because it aligns with the federal Farm Bill of 2018.

Is HHC-O legal in Virginia?

Since Virginia recognizes the 2018 Farm Bill, which declared all hemp products federally legal as long as they contain a no more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC, you can legally purchase HHC-O as long as you’re an adult resident of Virginia.

Cultivation Laws

The new law states that adults over 21 “may cultivate up to four marijuana plants for personal use at their place of residence.”

Even if there are multiple adults living in the same household, the four-plant restriction is per household. Growers “must exercise due care to prevent unauthorized access by persons under the age of 21.”

No size restriction applies to plants, but they must be “tagged” with the grower’s name, license number, and a statement that the plant is being grown for personal use.

According to the “Clear the Smoke, Virginia” website from the Toscano Law Group in Virginia Beach, “plants may not be visible to the public.” So don’t place those plants near your front windows, or in a yard space where passersby or neighbors can see them. 

You risk receiving civil penalties if you grow five to ten plants. If you have more than ten marijuana plants, you may be charged with a misdemeanor, and if you have fifty or more, you may be charged with a felony.

Where to Buy Weed in Virginia

Ready to get lit in Virginia? Here are your options.


Currently, recreational dispensaries are not available to the public. Virginia lawmakers voted to legalize possession but not sales of recreational marijuana in July 2021. If you want to be able to enter a dispensary at 18, you’ll need to get a Virginia medical marijuana card. Recreational dispensary sales are expected in 2024. 


Without legal recreational dispensaries, delivery options are not yet available. 

Direct to Consumer 

Although direct to consumer sales are successful in some markets, Virginia will have many hurdles to overcome before this is a viable option for any new cannabis brand. 

Black Market 

Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.

General FAQ

Where can you smoke weed in Virginia? 

Marijuana use is only permitted in designated areas or on one’s own property.
If you must bring marijuana with you, store it in the trunk. It is possible to assume that a driver is impaired if there is an “open container” of marijuana discovered in the vehicle. There is no legal way to transport marijuana in Virginia because retail sales have not yet started; open containers include anything other than an original sealed manufacturer’s container.

Can you smoke weed in public in Virginia? 

Virginians cannot smoke in any public place, and marijuana plants must be kept from public view (even away from front windows).

When was weed legalized in Virginia?

Virginia allows adults 21 and older to possess a small amount of cannabis for recreational purposes and to grow a small number of cannabis plants in their residence. Adults are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana legally thanks to a law that became effective in July 2021. However, recreational dispensaries are not set to open until sometime in 2024. 

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

Most of the time, it is illegal to give marijuana as a gift in Virginia. It is against the law to give marijuana to someone else unless you have a valid license from the Drug Control Act, according to Virginia Code 18.2-248.1.
The possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is still prohibited. Marijuana use, possession, and sale are still prohibited for those under the age of 21. Marijuana distribution, sale, and/or possession with the intention of doing either of those things remain illegal.

The crime of bringing 5 pounds or more of marijuana into Virginia with the intent to distribute it carries a fine of up to $1,000,000 and a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison. The maximum sentence is 40 years. The mandatory minimum sentence increases to 10 years if there is a second or subsequent conviction for the same crime. If you must transport your stash, it is best to keep it in a locked trunk container and below the permissible amount.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

A felony punishable by a minimum of 2 years in prison and a maximum of 50 years as well as a fine of up to $100,000 if distributed to a minor who is at least 3 years younger.

What is possession with the intent to sell?

Possession with intent to distribute means that a person is in possession of more weed than one would personally consume. This is an indication that the person plans to sell this abundance of marijuana on the black market. It is a severe offense with legal consequences.

When is possession still a crime?

Possession denotes that the substance is under the personal and physical control of the owner. When you knowingly control an illegal substance or have a larger amount in your possession than what the law allows, you are guilty of possession.

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