Virginia Marijuana Cultivation License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Virginia?

Does Virginia Require Marijuana Growers to Obtain Cultivation License?

Individuals and entities intending to grow cannabis for commercial purposes in Virginia are required to be duly licensed by the appropriate regulatory authority. Currently, both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2019 when the Virginia General Assembly enacted laws to protect certified patients against prosecution for possession of cannabis. Adult-use marijuana became legal on July 1, 2021, after House Bill 2312 was also passed by the Virginia Legislature. This bill legalized the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana by adults aged 21 years and older. Any adult over 21 years is allowed to cultivate up to four marijuana plants (per household) without a license, provided it is for their personal use. The laws also limited the number of available marijuana cultivation facility permits to 450.

According to the adult-use cannabis laws in Virginia, retail sales of adult-use cannabis will commence on July 1, 2024. This is to enable the stakeholders to establish the necessary framework for administering and regulating the cultivation, processing, transportation, and sales of cannabis in the state. Medical cannabis in Virginia is regulated by the Board of Pharmacy, while adult-use cannabis will be regulated by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority.

What Are the Different Types of Cultivation Licenses in Virginia?

A marijuana cultivation facility license in Virginia enables the license holder to:

  • Cultivate, label, and package marijuana
  • Purchase and possess marijuana seeds and plants from other licensed cultivation facilities
  • Transfer possession and sell marijuana flowers, immature plants, and seeds to other cannabis business
  • Sell immature plants and seeds to consumers for cultivation for personal use

The Cannabis Control Authority will issue two classes of the marijuana cultivation facility license:

Class A marijuana cultivation facility license - This class of license authorizes the holder to either cultivate a specific number of marijuana plants or cultivate marijuana plants within a specified area (not more than 1,500 square feet). The number of plants and the area for cultivation will be determined by the board of the Cannabis Control Authority (CCA).

Class B marijuana cultivation facility license - This class of license authorizes the holder to cultivate marijuana plants with THC concentrations of no more than 1%, as determined post-decarboxylation.

Currently, in Virginia, the only means of legally growing marijuana for commercial purposes requires the possession of a Pharmaceutical Processor permit. This permit is issued to eligible residents and entities, in line with the medical marijuana regulations in the state. A pharmaceutical processor permit enables the permit holder to grow and maintain up to 12 cannabis plants for each of their patients at any given time.

Who Can Grow Marijuana in Virginia?

Virginia marijuana laws place no restrictions on who can grow marijuana in Virginia, provided the person possesses a valid cultivation facility or pharmaceutical processor license. Virginia recreational marijuana laws prioritize social equity applicants and establish a Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board to provide resources to support these applicants. Social equity applicants refer to residents of the state who have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of law enforcement on marijuana-related crimes. Virginia laws seek to address the disinvestment, violence, and historical overuse of the criminal justice system against certain communities and individuals. The state wants to create an inclusive market by focusing on communities where the war on drugs has a disproportionately worse effect.

To qualify for social equity status in the state, the applicant must have resided in the Commonwealth of Virginia for up to 12 months. The following conditions also apply:

  • At least 66%-owned by a person or persons who have been convicted or adjudicated delinquent for any misdemeanor violations of marijuana-specific laws.
  • At least 66%-owned by a person who is a relative of an individual who was convicted or adjudicated delinquent for any misdemeanor violations of marijuana-specific laws.
  • At least 66%-owned by persons who have resided in areas disproportionately affected by marijuana crime responses for up to three of the past five years.
  • At least 66%-owned by persons who have resided in economically distressed areas for at least three of the last five years.
  • At least 66%-owned by a person or persons who graduated from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the Commonwealth of Virginia

How to Get a Marijuana Cultivation License in Virginia

Regulations for the establishment of licensing for cannabis business operations in Virginia will not be available until July 1, 2022. SB 1406 was passed in a special session and, as such, has to be re-enacted or passed again by the Virginia General Assembly in 2022. However, a change in the state’s legislature has stalled the progress of its recreational marijuana program following a re-enactment failure. This likely means that recreational marijuana sales are unlikely to commence in Virginia on January 1, 2024 as proposed.

When the recreational marijuana program implementation commences, an applicant for a marijuana cultivation facility license in Virginia will be required to:

  • Apply with the Cannabis Control Authority. Applicants will be required to submit pertinent documents with their applications and pay a fee. They will also be required to attest to the accuracy of the information provided.
  • Complete a background check by local law enforcement.
  • Notify the public of their applications on the front of the building proposed for their business for between 10 and 30 days.
  • Issue a public notice once a week in a newspaper in general circulation in the location of the business, for two weeks.
  • Commit to accurate record-keeping.

The Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) will inform the public when applications for marijuana cultivation facility licenses are available. Residents can sign up on the CCA webpage to receive notifications from the CCA on the availability of licenses and other updates.

Currently, to grow marijuana in Virginia, interested persons will need to obtain a Pharmaceutical Processor permit from the Board of Pharmacy. Amendments to the medical marijuana laws in Virginia currently enable pharmaceutical processors to cultivate marijuana for commercial purposes. A pharmaceutical processor is a facility licensed to grow cannabis plants for medical cannabis and permitted to dispense cannabis products to registered patients in the state.

To obtain a pharmaceutical processor permit in Virginia, the applicant must submit a completed Application for a Pharmaceutical Processor Permit Form and the required documents as:

  • 12 (printed) hard copies, one marked “ORIGINAL.”
  • 12 soft copies (DVDs or USB drives

The application and all supporting documents should be mailed or hand-delivered to:

Department of Health Professions

Board of Pharmacy

Perimeter Center

9960 Mayland Drive

Suite 300

Henrico, VA 23233

There is also a non-refundable fee that must be paid when submitting an application for a processor permit. Pharmaceutical processor permits are valid for one year and must be renewed for the license holders to maintain their statutory rights.

The Board of Pharmacy issues request for applications (RFAs) to solicit applications for permits to operate as pharmaceutical processors in a designated Health Service Area (HSA). The Board may issue or renew up to five permits, one for each established HSA. Presently, all five permits for pharmaceutical processors have either been awarded or the application period has closed.

How Much Do Marijuana Cultivation Licenses Cost in Virginia?

The Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) has not disclosed the cost of recreational marijuana cultivation facility licenses. The CCA cannot adopt regulations on licensing cannabis business operations until the state legislature re-approves the law legalizing adult-use marijuana sales in the Commonwealth. Hence, there is currently no established fee for obtaining a marijuana cultivation facility license in Virginia.

A pharmaceutical processor permit, which enables holders to cultivate medical marijuana and dispense it to registered patients, has a $10,000 application fee. Successful applicants must also pay a $60,000 fee before they are issued their permits. Pharmaceutical processor permits are only valid for one year and must be renewed annually. The renewal fee for a pharmaceutical processor permit in Virginia is $10,000.

Can Licensed Marijuana Cultivators Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Virginia?

The adult-use cannabis laws in Virginia permit the Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) to grant interests in multiple cannabis license categories to “certain persons.” The law does not specify what constitutes “certain persons,” and the CCA is expected to provide clarification when it adopts the regulations for licensing cannabis businesses. However, a pharmaceutical processor license enables the licensee to cultivate cannabis plants and process the flowers into cannabis products such as concentrates, edibles, and beverages.

In this section:
Virginia Marijuana Cultivation License