Yes. Cultivation is allowed in Loudoun County. On July 1, 2021, marijuana use by people 21 and older became legal in the state of Virginia, according to the Cannabis Control Act. This includes home cultivation.
However, there are a few prerequisites that must be met. One must be at least 21 years old in order to grow marijuana at home. A maximum of four marijuana plants are allowed per household, regardless of how many adults live there. The home must also be the primary residence of the marijuana grower. There is no requirement for homegrown marijuana to be indoors, but it should not be visible to the public. Growers are also responsible for ensuring that their plants are inaccessible to anyone under the age of 21. Any deviation from these rules will be subject to criminal penalties.
In addition to home growers, license holders of pharmaceutical cannabis processors are also permitted to cultivate cannabis. The Board of Pharmacy states that license holders of pharmaceutical cannabis processors who cultivate marijuana may not use pesticide chemicals unless approved by the Virginia Department of Health to stop a devastating infestation that could destroy their crops. Section 54.1-3442.6 of the Virginia Code requires that a person with an agricultural degree, appropriate board-certified certification, or at least two years of agricultural experience shall supervise a cannabis cultivation facility. Additionally, the cannabis cultivation facility needs to dispose of its agricultural waste safely.
The Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CCA), created by the Cannabis Control Act, will be the new regulatory agency creating new requirements for licensed marijuana cultivation facilities. By law, CCA can license up to 450 new marijuana cultivation facilities.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Virginia, including Loudoun County. Currently, the Virginia Department of Health Professions Board of Pharmacy regulates the cannabis processor permit. Only licensed cannabis processors are permitted to process cannabis. Home growers of marijuana are banned from processing concentrates from the plant.
The Code of Virginia allows up to five permits to be issued for pharmaceutical cannabis processors. Any permit holder can process cannabis. Currently, there are four pharmaceutical cannabis processor license holders, and applications have been submitted for the fifth slot. The Board has now closed submissions.
The Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3442.6 states that applicants for pharmaceutical cannabis processors must undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks at their own expense. If the permit is granted, they must require the same from all employees. They are prohibited from hiring anyone who has been convicted in Virginia within the last five years. Applicants and employees must also undergo regular drug screenings.
Pharmaceutical cannabis processors must conspicuously display their permits at their facilities. In addition, they must secure their facilities, and their records and labeling must be accurate. All cannabis products that meet testing, packaging, and labeling standards must be registered with the Board. The Board only conducts regular inspections of cannabis processing facilities once a year.
Loudoun County and other counties in the state of Virginia allow the retail sale of marijuana, but only if the dispensary has a permit from the Virginia Department of Health Professions Board of Pharmacy. Since 2020, only medical marijuana retail dispensaries have been operating in Virginia. Meanwhile, recreational marijuana sales are still scheduled to become legal in 2024.
For each holder of a pharmaceutical cannabis processor permit, the Board claims that it has the power to grant licenses for up to five cannabis dispensing facilities for each pharmaceutical cannabis processor permit holder. No other parties are eligible to submit an application for a cannabis dispensary.
According to Section 54.1-3442.6 of the Code of Virginia, a licensed pharmacist who is entirely in charge of the dispensing facility must sign the application for a dispensing facility submitted by a pharmaceutical cannabis processor. Owners applying for the permit are also required to submit to and pay for a criminal background check that includes fingerprinting. The dispensing facilities must require every applicant to go through the same process after receiving their license. Criminals with convictions in Virginia from the past five years are ineligible for employment. All applicants and employees must undergo a drug test.
The facility must maintain correct records and label cannabis products with precise information indicating the potency of cannabis. Every dose of cannabis oil that a facility dispenses must contain no more than 10 milligrams of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. In accordance with Section 54.1-3442.7 of the Code of Virginia, a dispensing facility may only provide a patient with a cannabis supply sufficient for up to 90 days.
For those who are not patients and are 21 years old and above, the Cannabis Control Act restricts the amount of cannabis that can be legally possessed outside of the home to one ounce. Additionally, it limits the amount of cannabis that can be bought and taken out of a dispensary to one ounce.
The Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3442.7 allows dispensaries to sell cannabis at retail. As defined by the Cannabis Control Act, marijuana-based products may also contain other ingredients. They include marijuana plants, extracts, concentrates, salts, tinctures, ointments, and edibles. Dispensaries are permitted to sell marijuana paraphernalia that is utilized in marijuana consumption, such as through inhalation or ingestion. In addition, home growers of marijuana are not allowed to sell any portion of the marijuana they cultivate.
Cannabis delivery is allowed in Loudoun County, including among licensed pharmaceutical cannabis processors and dispensaries. Pursuant to Administrative Code, Part VI, cannabis can also be delivered to patients or their designated caregivers in Loudoun County. However, there is no detail on whether cannabis delivery to patients’ residential addresses is allowed.
Upon delivery, the pharmacist or delivery agent shall verify with the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program that the patient registrations are current and active, their identity is valid, their written certification has not expired, and the quantity and date of the patients’ last dispensing of cannabis products. Pharmacists can dispense the registered patient's 90-day supply of cannabis. Cannabis and cannabis-related products can only be delivered in person.
As of July 1, 2022, patients, parents, or legal guardians of patients who are minors will no longer need a medical marijuana card to buy marijuana legally in the state of Virginia, including in Loudoun County. This is because of HB933, which was passed by the General Assembly of Virginia on April 11, 2022.
However, patients and legal guardians must still bring their government-issued ID card and a written certification from a licensed practitioner to the dispensary. A list of registered medical marijuana physicians can be found online. Anyone over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana from a dispensary, but purchases are limited to only one ounce. Based on their specific treatment plans, only patients with a licensed medical practitioner's certification are eligible to get a 90-day supply.
Patients, their parents, or the guardians of minors may still have the optional medical marijuana card through an online application process which costs $50. They need to fill out the online form, pay the fee, and submit the written certification from a licensed physician along with identification, age, and residency evidence for Virginia. In around 60 business days, they will acquire their medicinal marijuana card.
Any health condition that a medical professional believes might improve with medical marijuana is regarded as a qualifying condition in Virginia.
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
While there are no current figures on Virginia's cannabis sales and tax revenues, data from a 2020 study led by the Virginia General Assembly (GA) provides a lot of information. GA has asked the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to investigate strategic factors in the legalization of marijuana and make recommendations based on the findings. These included the economic impact of marijuana legalization in states with the projected demand and tax revenue.
The Commission found that most states impose a 20% to 30% tax on retail marijuana sales in the commercial marijuana market. JLARC proposed that Virginia set a 20% marijuana tax and a 5.3% sales tax for a total of 25.3%. Such rates could generate between $31 million and $52 million in tax revenue in the first year. As the commercial marijuana market matures into its fifth year, it could reach $154 million to $257 million.
Another option is a 25% marijuana tax plus a 5.3% sales tax for a total tax of 30.3%. This could result in tax revenue of $37 million to $62 million in the first year. In the fifth year, it could reach between $184 million and $308 million.
The Commission also recommended higher taxes on easily ingested products, such as edibles and high-potency products, as they pose greater risks to public health. This could add another $50 million in tax revenue by year five. JLARC also found that 20% of sales tax revenues from local jurisdictions can be shared with local governments.
The FBI crime report shows that the data generated by Loudoun County Sheriff's Office presents a decreasing number of DUI cases for the years 2019, 2020, and 2021, from 410 to 308 and 307 cases, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of marijuana-related arrests for 2019, 2020, and 2021 has also dropped significantly from 351 to 158 and 25 cases, respectively.
Keep in mind that Virginia allowed recreational cannabis use in 2021.