Is weed legal in Virginia?

Yes and no. Medical marijuana is legal for qualified patients, but adult, or recreational, use of cannabis remains illegal in Virginia. 

As of July 1, 2020, weed is decriminalized in Virginia. The new law stipulates that the maximum penalty for possessing up to 1 ounce of marijuana is a $25 fine, which doesn't go on the person's criminal record.

Legislation history

Virginia passed one of the country's first medical marijuana laws in 1979. The law was a provision in the state's criminal code stating that a person would not be prosecuted for possession of marijuana in Virginia if he or she had a valid prescription from a doctor for using cannabis to treat the symptoms of glaucoma or the side effects of chemotherapy. However, physicians can not legally issue prescriptions since the term “prescribe” applies only to FDA-regulated substances. 

In 2017, the General Assembly approved a bill allowing limited cannabis cultivation and dispensation and access to CBD or THCA oil for patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. In 2018, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill expanding access to more Virginians by allowing physicians to recommend medical marijuana to any patients who could benefit. 

In 2019, the state passed legislation allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to issue written certifications for patients to use medical cannabis extracts. It also stipulated that each dose could contain up to 10 milligrams of THC.

The Virginia Board of Pharmacy regulates cannabis products for medicinal use within the state. The board operates under the state's Department of Health Professions.

Where is it safe to purchase cannabis in Virginia?

Registered patients can purchase cannabis oil with at least 5 milligrams of CBD or THCA and no more than 10 mg THC per dose from approved pharmaceutical processors. The Virginia Board of Pharmacy maintains a list of processors. 

Where is it safe to consume cannabis in Virginia?

Consumption of medical cannabis oil is generally allowed on private property. Certifications should be kept with the medical cannabis products in accordance with Virginia drug laws. Medical cannabis products must be kept in sealed containers out of reach of drivers or passengers in motor vehicles. Driving while impaired is illegal. Smoking cannabis flower is also illegal.

Cannabis possession in Virginia

Possession of any cannabis products other than a 90-day supply of medical cannabis oil by anyone other than a registered patient is illegal. However, possession of 1 ounce of cannabis or less is decriminalized, meaning the maximum penalty for possessing up to 1 ounce of marijuana is a $25 fine.  

Medical marijuana registry

Patients must receive written certification by a registered practitioner prior to applying for registration with the Board of Pharmacy. Parents or legal guardians of qualified patients must also register. To find providers who are registered to recommend medical cannabis, patients can look up qualified professionals. 

Registration is $50 per year for patients, $25 for parents and legal guardians. The certification and registration are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. 

Residents must prove their age, residency, and identity by scanning or faxing copies of government-issued identification cards such as drivers licenses and birth certificates.


Virginia currently has no reciprocity agreements with other states.

Lab testing

Third-party lab testing and product labeling are required and labs must be accredited by the state.

Products must be tested for:

  • Cannabinoids
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbes 
  • Mycotoxins
  • Pesticides
  • Terpenes

Frequently asked questions

When will marijuana be legal in Virginia?

While we can't predict the future, we do know that Virginans can't petition to get a medical marijuana initiative added to the ballot. Any path to legalize marijuana would have to go through the state legislature. 

How do you get medical marijuana in Virginia?

Visit a registered practitioner to obtain a written certification for medical cannabis oil. (Check with the Board of Pharmacy to find registered practitioners.) Then apply for registration with the Board of Pharmacy, fill out the application, pay the $50 fee, and provide proof of residency and identity. Once you're approved, you can buy cannabis oil from one of the state's pharmaceutical processors.

What are the marijuana laws in Virginia?

Certified and registered patients or their parents/guardians can purchase and possess medical cannabis oil. For everyone else, it's illegal but possession of up to 1 ounce (28 grams) is decriminalized and carries the penalty of a $25 fine. 

How do you add the legalization of marijuana to a Virginia ballot?

Virginia doesn't allow citizens initiatives so any path to legalization will have to go through the state legislature.

This page was last updated March 18, 2021.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on March 22, 2021.