Virginia is one of the few states where cannabis is still illegal for all purposes. Even possession of a very tiny amount of weed is a misdemeanor criminal charge. While legislation was passed to allow cannabis products containing up to 10 mg THC-A per dose, this is not legalization per se. Instead, people who use and possess cannabis for medical use can present an affirmative defense for their possession if they meet the state's requirements.
In order to present the affirmative defense, Virginia medical marijuana patients must:
1) Obtain a certification from a licensed Virginia physician,
2) Register with the state as a medical marijuana patient,
3) Keep these papers with their cannabis products at all times,
4) Present the certification to law enforcement if questioned about possession,
5) Call their attorney or ask for a court-appointed lawyer if they are charged anyway,
6) Present their signed certification 10 days before their trial as instructed by the court,
7) Keep their registration up-to-date with annual renewals of certification and registration,
8) Follow the rules of Virginia's medical marijuana laws, and
9) Not possess any cannabis products that are not allowed (i.e. flower, foods or products containing concentrations higher than 10mg per dose)
As you can see, it's a little more complicated in Virginia, so it's a good idea to contact an attorney or Virginia's Board of Pharmacy at email@example.com if you have any questions about the new laws and contact an attorney if you have any concerns.
Now that the state's registration process is open, Virginians must become registered with the state to assert an affirmative defense for cannabis use. A written certification from a physician registered with the Board of Pharmacy is no longer sufficient defense. Be sure you are approved by the state before beginning treatment or you may be subject to criminal charges.
Note that the affirmative defense does not cover cannabis products that are not allowed by the new law. The law does not allow flower, or THC-infused food products, but it does allow tinctures, oils, sprays, creams, lozenges, gels, suppositories and patches. For instance, a tincture or capsule with 10mg of cannabis per dose is ok to assert the affirmative defense for, but a gram of flower, or a food product with 10mg of THC-A is not defend-able under the law and would be subject to full prosecution. Products with more than 10mg THC-A per dose would be subject to prosecution as well, regardless of their form.
Note that THC-A is the non-psychoactive precursor of THC. This is the component of cannabis that breaks down into psychoactive THC when it's heated.
You'll need to get a written certification from your doctor before you apply to the state. If you already have a written certification that you have been using while waiting for the program to start, you can use this to apply, so long as it was issued within the last 12 months.
Once you have your certification, go to the Virginia Department of Health Professions Initial Applications page and follow the instructions for the application. You'll need to pay a $50 fee for your application, so be sure to have your payment method ready.
Once you've completed your online registration and the $50 fee payment, you're not done yet. You'll need to fax, email or mail the following documents to the department at:
Virginia Board of Pharmacy Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive,
Suite 300 Henrico, VA 23233-1463
Fax: (804) 527-4472
Here is the list of documents that you'll need to send:
* The qualifying patient's birth certificate or other government-issued ID,
* The parent or legal guardian's government-issued ID if the patient is a minor,
* Proof of the qualifying patient's residency in Virginia either with government-issued ID or a tax receipt,
* A copy of the qualified patients physician certification.
The most common way to show this information is to send in a copy of the qualified patient's Driver's License or State ID and their physician certification. The other documents become necessary with the qualified patient does not have a Driver's License or State ID.
The state will then process your ID within about 7-10 days and mail your registration, if you're approved, to the mailing address provided on the application.
As of July 1, 2019, nurse practitioners jointly licensed by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing, physician assistants licensed by the Board of Medicine, and doctors of medicine and osteopathy can issue a written certification for cannabis use. However, they must register with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy before they can begin issuing certifications. Virginia Norml keeps a list of doctors who are willing to certify patients for cannabis use here. The page also provides instructions for searching Virginia's state database for eligible doctors.
No, this decision is up to the doctor. Currently, the law allows practitioners to issue written certifications for cannabis to “alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.”
Your card is good for one year and must be renewed annually to continue with the program.
No. Neither recreational, nor medical marijuana are actually legal in Virginia. Recreational users are subject to criminal charges for possession or use of any cannabis. Medical marijuana users only have an affirmative defense, meaning that they may still be stopped and questioned or even charged for cannabis use, but they can present their valid status as medical marijuana patients as a defense.
The application fee is $50, and the fee is not refundable if you're not approved. The registration fee for a parent or guardian is $25.
* Your doctor's certification
* Proof of residency
* Proof of identity
* Proof of age
* Proof of parent or guardian's certification, residency, identity and age if the patient is a minor under 18.
You can't buy any cannabis products in Virginia yet, but there will be five manufacturers in the state soon. Those five are MedMen, Dalitso, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical of Virginia and Columbia Care.
Virginia doesn't allow food products or flower, but it will allow suppositories, patches, gels, lozenges, oils, creams, sprays, tinctures and capsules.