By: Ben Barlow

In my previous blog post, I provided general advice to pass on to clients about the nascent cannabis market in Virginia. Outside of those interested in potential regulatory and taxing schemes for their businesses, individuals have a number of questions about how they should navigate these (for Virginia) uncharted waters.  

Many read headlines and leave their education on the legal changes there, treating the legalization date of July 1, 2021, as the start of the wild west in Virginia. That would be a significant mistake – especially so if the individuals might also be interested in turning their recreational pursuits into business pursuits in the future. It is safe to bet that those who treat changing marijuana laws casually will find themselves at a disadvantage when applying for licenses in the future.

So, how should individuals understand the changes in Virginia law and how those changes compare with laws in neighboring states?

Here’s a primer for several questions clients may ask:

What’s Legal

Possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal consumption.

Home cultivation of up to four cannabis plants provided that they are not visible from a public street, walkway, or space and are appropriately labeled with the grower’s name, ID number (such as a driver’s license or other state-issued identification number), and statements that the plant is being cultivated for personal use.

What is Not Legal:        

Possession of any amount of cannabis with the intent to distribute.

Transfer of cannabis with a contemporaneous commercial transaction (i.e. ‘gifting’ schemes prevalent in neighboring Washington D.C. where cannabis is ‘given’ to another contemporaneous with their ‘purchase’ of a sticker, baseball card, or other piece of merchandise. Virginia will not tolerate those who sell a pencil for $20 and thrown in two pre-rolls (pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes) for free.

What Can I Do?            

While sales are illegal, adult sharing of amounts under one ounce is legal. I would anticipate some form of organized sharing. Sharing schemes though will involve, for the time being, home cultivated product, and all individuals should be careful not to mix the medical and recreational schemes – i.e., individuals who have medical use of cannabis are not allowed to ‘share’ as the term is used in the new recreational legislation.

Well, When Can I Buy?

Applications for marijuana establishments (retail locations) will not be accepted until 2023 as the Governor’s Cannabis Control Authority develops guidelines. Sales will not begin until 2024.


To learn more about Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, contact us by calling 800-747-9354 or by emailing

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