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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Virginia [2022]

Virginia doesn’t have an official MMJ program in place like other states. However, it does have a law in place that permits the use of medical marijuana with freedom from prosecution. The state also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana in July 2020. Before this legislation, medical patients required an Affirmative Defense Certificate. MMJ patients can only use THC-A or CBD oils, with a maximum THC limit of 10mg.








There are no specific qualifying conditions. In Virginia, all medical conditions are considered, and it is at the doctor’s discretion whether or not you receive a recommendation. However, patients with the following conditions have a chance of being approved for MMJ:

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Crohn’s disease
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain where opioids and other conventional treatments have not worked

April 7, 2021, was a historic day as Virginia became the first state in the South to legalize recreational marijuana. It was quite a turnaround in a state where it was extremely difficult to get medical marijuana until recently.

Technically, MMJ became legal in Virginia in 1979, but the law used the word ‘prescription,’ meaning it was impossible to access it legally. Fast forward to 2015, and Governor McAuliffe signed a law allowing a medical exemption for prescribed cannabis oils.

The legislation, House Bill 1445 and Senate Bill 1235, created an ‘affirmative defense’ against prosecution for the possession of CBD oil or THC-A oil if you had a doctor’s recommendation for those substances to treat epilepsy.

It was the beginning of a journey towards full marijuana legalization. This article outlines the current state of play regarding MMJ in Virginia, including details on attaining your card. However, first, let’s look into the existing marijuana laws in the Old Dominion.

Marijuana Laws in Virginia

After almost a century of prohibition, it took surprisingly little time for full marijuana legalization to occur in Virginia.

In September 2018, the Virginia State Board of Pharmacy approved the applications of five MMJ dispensaries.

In February 2020, the state decriminalized the personal possession of small amounts of cannabis. HB 972 and SB 2 went into effect in July 2020.

Today, any Virginian caught in possession of up to an ounce of marijuana will receive a $25 fine and no criminal record or jail time.

SB 1015 was a bigger deal for medical cannabis users in Virginia. It says that “no person may be arrested, prosecuted, or denied any right or privilege for participating in the state’s medical cannabis program.” This law also went into effect in July 2020. Before this rule, medical patients needed an Affirmative Defense Certificate to use THC-A or CBD oils.

On April 7, 2021, the state of Virginia legalized recreational marijuana. As of July 1, 2021, adults aged 21+ can possess up to one ounce of marijuana. However, Virginians must wait until January 1, 2024, for adult-use sales to begin. Therefore, you still face penalties for the illegal purchase of weed in the state.

As it happens, the ‘reenactment clause’ requires the bill to pass again in 2022. The only part of Virginia’s marijuana legalization bill to pass was the substance’s legalization! Provisions on production, licensing, sales, distribution, and regulation of marijuana (among other things) did NOT pass!

Therefore, it is a misnomer to suggest that recreational marijuana is ACTUALLY legal in Virginia after all!

Virginia Marijuana Penalties

Adults aged 21+ can freely carry up to one ounce of marijuana on their person. Indeed, you only face a fine of $25 if caught with up to a pound of the substance as the offense is classified as a civil violation. It is also legal to cultivate up to four plants at your primary residence.

However, the sale of over an ounce remains a felony with a potential maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Selling weed to a minor at least three years younger than you is a more serious felony, with a possible jail term of up to 50 years.

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On the plus side, the new recreational law ensured that marijuana infractions were sealed on July 1, 2021. This follows the state’s decision to seal simple possession of marijuana records in 2020. By July 1, 2025, all marijuana records, including arrests, charges, and convictions for misdemeanor or basic possession, will be sealed automatically throughout state and private databases.

Yet, despite adult-use ‘legalization,’ there is nowhere for recreational users to purchase the substance lawfully! As a result, you must apply for an MMJ card in Virginia to use weed. Here’s an overview of the process.

Need a Medical Marijuana Card ?

What Is a Virginia Medical Marijuana Card?

As the name suggests, it is a card that legally permits you to purchase medical marijuana in Virginia. You need to receive a written recommendation from a licensed physician before you’re eligible for an MMJ card.

Please note that in Virginia, there are no specific qualifying conditions. Technically, you can get certified by a doctor for almost any medical issue. Physicians in the state decide whether patients are eligible for medical marijuana on a case-by-case basis.

Virginia Medical Marijuana Laws

Given the mess surrounding recreational legalization, it is likely that attaining an MMJ card is the only way Virginians can legally acquire the substance for the foreseeable future.

In April 2020, Governor Northam signed Senate Bill 1015 into law. It states that no individual can be arrested, prosecuted, or denied any privilege for participating in Virginia’s medical cannabis program. The first MMJ dispensary in the state finally opened in October 2020.

As part of SB 1015, applicants still require a doctor’s recommendation, and they also have to register with the state Board of Pharmacy. This process involves paying a fee and enduring a 60-day waiting period. However, there is good news on this front. In April 2022, Governor Youngkin signed an important piece of legislation into law.

From July 2022, Virginians seeking MMJ no longer have to sign with the Board of Pharmacy before being approved to buy marijuana products. The legislation should help reduce the backlog of thousands of registration requests from individuals waiting to purchase medical weed.
Incidentally, the same law has banned delta-8 THC from October 2022, prohibited the sale of smokable hemp to customers below the age of 21, and outlawed the sale of hemp edibles in the form of people, fruits, or animals. This edibles ban already applies to adult-use THC products.

Now, let’s find out how to apply for your Virginia medical marijuana card.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the current law in Virginia regarding cannabis containing products?

In Virginia, state law allows cannabinoid oils for medical use with certification from a doctor and with guidance from a pharmacist. These oils are only available from specially licensed Pharmaceutical Processors. Flowers & leaves of plants are not allowed by this legislation. CBD oil available online or in drugstores is also not permitted..

How does a patient purchase cannabinoid oils in Virginia?

  • First, the patient or patient’s guardian must obtain a written certification from a registered physician
  • Next, the patient or guardian may register with the Board of Pharmacy (only after getting a certification).
  • Finally, patients may visit a Pharmaceutical Processor to meet with a pharmacist and purchase products

Where can I find a doctor who can write a certification?

Patients can find a list of doctors who are registered to write certifications on Virginia’s Department of Health Professions License Lookup page: Under “Occupation” select “Registered Physician For CBD/THC-A Oil.” Currently 209 providers are registered.

What conditions may be treated with CBD/THC-A oil?

Virginia doesn’t have a list of qualifying conditions. This means that physicians may write a certification for any indication where they feel the patient will benefit.

How do I register with the Board of Pharmacy?

Information about patient registration can be found on the VA Board of Pharmacy website:

Patients may only register after getting a written certification from a physician.

Can I buy cannabinoid-containing products at the drugstore, online, or in a different state?

No. Only these five processors are licensed to sell cannabinoid oils:

  • Health Service Area 1: PharmaCann Virginia
  • Health Service Area 2: Dalitso
  • Health Service Area 3: Dharma Pharmaceuticals
  • Health Service Area 4: Green Leaf Medical of Virginia
  • Health Service Area 5: Columbia Care
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Why do I need to purchase oils from a licensed processor?

Virginia’s pharmaceutical processors are run by pharmacists. The pharmacist provides education, guidance, and will meet individually with each patient on their first visit to the facility. Also, processors are required to meet rigorous quality and safety standards. Unregulated products contain varying amounts of CBD and THC, and sometimes contain more or less active ingredient than it says on the label. Virginia only allows licensed processors to produce the oils so that you and your doctor can be confident that you are getting a safe and consistent dose under the guidance of a pharmacist.

Are unregulated CBD products safe?

In addition to containing varying amounts of active ingredient, dangerous chemicals have also been found in unregulated CBD products.

I’ve seen CBD oil for sale online, or in another state. Didn’t the 2018 Farm Bill make this legal?

The Board of Pharmacy cannot advise as to whether a pharmacy may legally sell industrial hemp-derived CBD products. Board counsel recommends that pharmacies consult with their attorneys should they need legal advice on this subject.

Will Virginia law ever change to allow oils with a higher concentration of THC-A or CBD? Or different dosage forms such as edibles?

This is a rapidly-changing area of law! Healthcare providers are likely to hear frequent patient questions about this topic, and the Virginia Pharmacists Association is watching this issue carefully. Healthcare providers are encouraged to join the Academy of Medical Cannabis to receive regular updates.

Do You Need A Prescription For CBD Oil?

When looking to buy CBD oil for the first time, you may have a lot of questions. CBD products , while increasingly popular, haven’t been around for that long. Because of this, there are many questions left unanswered.

One of these questions is: do you need a prescription for CBD oil? In short, no , you do not need a CBD prescription from your doctor or another medical authority in order to buy CBD oil. However, there are more layers to this question than meets the eye.

CBD is not currently included on the United States’ list of controlled substances , which catalogs drugs and chemicals regulated by the government. Some controlled substances are outright illegal, like heroin, while some require a prescription, like Xanax.

And while the government does not regulate CBD, another popular cannabinoid is considered a controlled substance: THC, commonly associated with marijuana. THC induces intoxicating side effects, unlike CBD . However, it also aids in a variety of medical conditions . And not too long ago, marijuana was much more illegal than it is today, with patients needing a medical marijuana card to purchase and ingest medical cannabis. One complicating element is that CBD products contain small amounts of THC. So why do you not need a CBD prescription?

The History of Medical Cannabis, in Short

The history of medical cannabis is almost as long as the history of recorded medical conditions. In fact, the first known use of cannabis to treat medical conditions comes from circa 2900 BCE, when Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi wrote about the medicinal properties of cannabis , calling it a very popular medicine.

It wasn’t until the 1900s that THC became stigmatized and eventually outlawed. Cannabis was officially included among the U.S. list of controlled substances in 1970 . It would take over 20 years for one state to fight back against federal cannabis regulations.

California passed Prop. 215 in 1996 , legalizing medical cannabis. Patients suffering from severe or chronic illnesses could receive a medical marijuana card, allowing them to purchase both THC and CBD products from licensed distributors (although THC products were far more popular, as we still didn’t fully understand the CBD compound).

2018: a BOOM in CBD

When answering the question, do you need a prescription for CBD oil , we must look at a variety of factors. For starters, the U.S. government legalized CBD products at the end of 2018 with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill . If you’re wondering why you can buy CBD oil just about anywhere, this bill is why.

However, these legal CBD products can only contain trace amounts of THC, 0.3 percent, or less, to be exact. What happened to all those medical marijuana cardholders who used medical cannabis (containing both CBD and THC) to treat a variety of medical conditions.

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Cannabis is legal for recreational use in a handful of states . However, medical marijuana is legal in far more states, many of whom have refused to make the jump to recreational legalization. If you live in a state where medical cannabis is permitted, but recreational cannabis is illegal, do you need a prescription for CBD oil?

If you want to purchase CBD products that contain more than just trace amounts of THC, yes , you would need a prescription (in the form of a medical marijuana card) to purchase THC-heavy CBD products.

What About Other States?

When examining the question do you need a prescription for CBD oil , there are a variety of layers to consider. The most crucial factor might be where you live.

If you live in a state where medical cannabis is legal but recreational cannabis is illegal, you would need a CBD prescription if you want a product that contains high concentrations of both CBD and THC.

But do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where both medical and recreational cannabis is legal? And what about states where medical and recreational cannabis are both illegal? Do you need a CBD prescription then?

States with Medical & Recreational Cannabis Laws

Do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where both medical and recreational cannabis are legal? No, you do not. If you want CBD products that contain only trace amounts of THC, you can buy CBD oil online or your local stores. If you want CBD products with high amounts of THC, you can go to your local recreational cannabis dispensary.

States where medical and recreational cannabis are legal include:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia (D.C.)
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

States with Medical Cannabis Laws, but No Recreational Cannabis Laws

Do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where medical cannabis is legal, but recreational cannabis is illegal? As we mentioned, you only need a prescription if you wish to buy CBD oil that contains more than 0.3 percent THC. If you want CBD products that contain 0.3 percent THC or less, you can find these products online or at your local stores.

States where medical cannabis is legal but recreational cannabis is illegal include:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

States with Neither Medical or Recreational Cannabis Laws

Do you need a prescription for CBD oil if you live in a state where medical cannabis and recreational cannabis are both considered illegal? No, so long as your CBD products only contain trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent or less), in line with the federal 2018 Farm Bill.

States where neither medical or recreational cannabis are legal include:

  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Epidiolex: The One CBD Prescription

In the eyes of the federal government, THC is still a Schedule I narcotic on the list of controlled substances. This means that the federal government believes THC has no medical use and is unsafe for human consumption.

The federal government used to think this way about all cannabinoids, CBD included. However, prior to passing the 2018 Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex – a medication containing CBD – for prescription use in children suffering from two severe forms of epilepsy.

While you don’t need a prescription to buy CBD oil, there does exist one CBD-based medication. We at CBD Choice believe that there are many more medicinal uses for CBD than currently approved by the federal government, and we should see more prescription CBD uses in the not-so-distant future.

CBD: No Prescription Needed

Because of CBD’s status as a federally-legal substance, you can buy CBD oil online and have it shipped anywhere in the country! Some states have attempted to pass Draconian laws that limit the local sale and supply of CBD products within state lines but remember: you do not need a prescription for CBD oil.

Stay informed on all CBD-related laws , standings, and medical evaluations with CBD Choice. And remember: no matter where you live, you’re entitled to CBD treatment.