Yes. Cultivation is legal in Chesterfield County. On July 1, 2021, recreational marijuana use became legal for persons aged 21 and older under Virginia's Cannabis Control Act, while medical marijuana use was legalized in 2020. Home cultivation has also been allowed since then. Aside from home cultivation, licensed pharmaceutical cannabis processors may cultivate cannabis.
For home cultivation, there are several requirements to be met. Home cultivators must include on each plant a legible tag with the owner's name, driver's license or ID number, and a note that the plants are being cultivated for personal use only in accordance with the law. Moreover, cultivators must be aged 21 or older to cultivate marijuana at home. They are also given responsibility for ensuring that their marijuana plants are inaccessible to anyone under the age of 21. Anyone who breaches this rule will be prosecuted. In addition, a maximum of four marijuana plants are allowed per household, regardless of the number of adults living in the residence. There is no requirement for homegrown marijuana to be indoors, but it should not be open to the public.
As for licensed pharmaceutical cannabis processors, the Board of Pharmacy stated that as they grow marijuana, the cultivation methods and extraction processes used to create the cannabis products must be carried out in a safe and efficient way based on scientific literature or current standards. They cannot use pesticides unless approved by the Virginia Department of Health to stop a devastating infestation that may wipe out their crops. The Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3442.6 requires pharmaceutical processors to ensure that security measures are in place at all times to protect cannabis from diversion, and the pharmacist-in-charge is responsible for preventing diversion from dispensing areas. The Code of Virginia also requires a person with a degree in agriculture, equivalent board certification, or at least two years of agricultural experience to supervise a cannabis cultivation facility.
The Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CCA), established by the Cannabis Control Act, will be the new regulating body creating further requirements for licensed marijuana cultivation facilities. The CCA is authorized by law to license up to 450 new marijuana cultivation facilities.
Chesterfield County and the rest of Virginia allow cannabis manufacturing. The cannabis processor permit is currently regulated by the Virginia Department of Health Professions Board of Pharmacy. Only licensed cannabis processors are permitted to process cannabis. After processing and before dispensing any cannabis products, the Board mandates pharmaceutical processors to make a sample of each batch of cannabis product accessible for testing by an independent laboratory in Virginia that complies with Board regulations. This is pursuant to the Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3442.6.
Section 54.1-3442.6 also states that pharmaceutical cannabis processor applicants must undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks at their own expense. If their permits are granted, the same requirement must be requested from all employees. Pharmaceutical cannabis processors are prohibited from hiring anyone who has been convicted in Virginia within the last five years. Both applicants and employees must regularly submit to drug testing.
In addition, pharmaceutical cannabis processors must display permits conspicuously on their premises. They must also secure the facility, and their labeling and records must be accurate. All cannabis products that meet testing, labeling, and packaging standards must be registered with the Board. The Board conducts regular inspections of cannabis processing facilities only once a year.
The Code of Virginia awards up to five licenses for pharmaceutical cannabis processors. Four pharmaceutical cannabis processor licenses are now in use, and applications have been made for the fifth. Submissions are currently closed by the Board.
The retail sale of cannabis is permitted in Chesterfield County and other Virginia counties, but only if the dispensary gets a license from the Virginia Department of Health Professions Board of Pharmacy. Only medical marijuana retail dispensaries have been operating in Virginia since 2020, while marijuana sales for recreational purposes will be starting in 2024.
For each licensed pharmaceutical cannabis processor, the Board has the authority to issue licenses for up to five cannabis dispensing establishments. No other parties are permitted to apply to open a marijuana dispensary. Under Section 54.1-3442.7 of the Code of Virginia, dispensaries are permitted to sell cannabis in retail outlets. Allowed forms of marijuana for retail include marijuana plants, concentrates, salts, extracts, tinctures, edibles, and ointments. Pharmacies may sell marijuana-related paraphernalia used for marijuana use, including by ingestion or inhalation.
Pursuant to Section 54.1-3442.6, the licensed pharmacist who has full responsibility for the dispensing facility must sign the dispensing facility application submitted by the pharmaceutical cannabis processor. Owners who apply for a permit must undergo and pay a criminal background check, including fingerprinting. The dispensing facility must require all applicants to go through the same process after receiving a license. Criminals convicted in Virginia within the last five years are ineligible for employment. All applicants and employees are required to undergo a drug test.
Facilities must maintain accurate records and label cannabis products with accurate information indicating the potency of cannabis. Each dose of cannabis oil dispensed by a facility must contain no more than 10 milligrams of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Consistent with Section 54.1-3442.7, dispensing facilities can only provide patients with supplies of cannabis sufficient to last up to 90 days.
For consumers over the age of 21 (not patients), the Cannabis Control Act limits the amount of cannabis they can legally possess outside the home to one ounce. In addition, the amount of cannabis that they can purchase and take out of dispensaries is limited to 1 ounce.
Furthermore, home marijuana growers are not permitted to sell any portion of the marijuana they grow.
In Chesterfield County, marijuana delivery between licensed dispensaries and manufacturers is legal, but home deliveries are not allowed. Cannabis may also be given to patients or caregivers on their behalf in accordance with Administrative Code, Part VI, but deliveries are only to be made within the premises of a cannabis dispensing facility or a pharmaceutical processor's dispensary.
The pharmacist or delivery person is required to check with the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program upon delivery to ensure that the patient registrations are valid, up to date, and active, that their written certifications have not expired, and that the quantity and date of their most recent cannabis product dispensation are accurate. The 90-day cannabis supply for the registered patient can be given out by pharmacists. Only in-person deliveries are permitted for cannabis and cannabis-related products.
Patients, parents, or legal guardians of patients who are minors will no longer require a medical marijuana card in order to purchase marijuana legally in the state of Virginia, including in Chesterfield County. This occurs as a result of the General Assembly of Virginia passing HB933 on April 11, 2022.
Patients and legal guardians must still present a written certification from a qualified practitioner at the dispensary in addition to their government-issued ID card. Registered medicinal marijuana practitioners can be found online. Only patients with a licensed medical practitioner's certification are qualified to receive a 90-day supply based on their specific treatment regimens. As for consumers who are at least 21 years old, only one ounce of marijuana can be bought from a dispensary.
Through an online application process that costs $50, patients, their parents, or the guardians of minors can still obtain the optional medical marijuana card. They must submit the online form, the required fee, the written certification from an authorized physician, as well as documentation of their identity, age, and Virginia residency. Their card for medical marijuana will arrive in around 60 business days.
In Virginia, any medical condition that a doctor thinks might get better with medical marijuana is considered to qualify.
For more information, you may contact:
Virginia Department of Health
P.O. Box 2448
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2448
109 Governor Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 662-6200
Although there are no up-to-date statistics on cannabis sales and tax revenues in Virginia, data from a 2020 study conducted by the Virginia General Assembly (GA) has provided information. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) has been invited by the GA to look into the strategic aspects of legalizing marijuana and give suggestions in light of its findings. The economic effects of marijuana legalization in states with anticipated demand and tax revenue were among them.
The Commission discovered that the majority of states impose tax on retail marijuana sales in the commercial marijuana market by 20% to 30%. JLARC suggested that Virginia impose a cannabis tax of 20% and a sales tax of 5.3% for a total tax of 25.3%. At such rates, between $31 million and $52 million in taxes might be collected in the first year. The commercial marijuana market could reach $154 million to $257 million as it reaches its fifth year of development.
Another option is the combination of a cannabis tax of 25% and a sales tax of 5.3% which would result in a total tax of 30.3%. As a result, the first year's tax receipts could range from $37 million to $62 million. It might total between $184 million and $308 million in the fifth year.
The Commission additionally suggested raising taxes on easily ingested products like edibles and high-potency items since they present greater dangers to the general public's health. By year five, this might generate an additional $50 million in tax income. JLARC also discovered that local governments could receive 20% of sales tax income from local jurisdictions.
The FBI crime report shows that the data generated by Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office presents an increasing number of DUI cases for the years 2019, 2020, and 2021, from 899 to 1,089 and 1,218 cases, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of marijuana-related cases for 2019, 2020, and 2021 has drastically dropped from 1,012 to 865 and 191 arrests, respectively.
Furthermore, the Chesterfield County Police Department's annual report states that the Vice and Narcotics Unit seized 295.2 pounds of marijuana and 84 grams of marijuana wax in 2021.
Note that Virginia allowed recreational cannabis use in 2021.