How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Virginia


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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 possessing 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 toward full marijuana legalization. This article outlines the current state of play regarding MMJ in Virginia, including details on attaining your VA medical card. However, first, let’s examine the existing marijuana laws in the Old Dominion.

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Marijuana Laws in Virginia

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 four ounces 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, although there is a pretty big caveat that we will explore later.

Selling 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.

medical marijuana card virginia

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.

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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Virginia

As the name suggests, the VA medical card legally permits you to purchase medical marijuana in Virginia, although you don’t receive a physical card. Instead, you only need to receive a written recommendation from a licensed physician.

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

Until recently, applicants still had to register with the state Board of Pharmacy. This process involved paying a fee and enduring a 60-day waiting period. However, 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 marijuana.

Step 1 – Get in Touch with a VA Healthcare Provider

You need to find a licensed doctor in Virginia willing to provide written permission for you to use cannabis. Only doctors who have received their licenses from the Board of Medicine and the Virginia Board of Pharmacy are acceptable.

Step 2 – Schedule a Consultation

Once you find a suitable physician, it is time to schedule an appointment for a consultation. Ensure you bring a copy of your medical records and prescription medication containers to prove your diagnosed medical condition.

If the doctor decides you’re eligible for medical marijuana, they will issue you with written permission on an official form available through the Virginia Board of Pharmacy. The process is usually relatively quick. The doctor will discuss your condition and decide if you should receive certification.

You can also receive permission from a licensed Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. They must register with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, which needs to certify them.

Step 3 – Visit a Dispensary

You no longer have to register online with the Virginia Department of Health Professions and Board of Pharmacy. Once you receive your doctor’s written certification, you can visit a licensed dispensary immediately! Please bring a government-issued ID with you as well.

medical marijuana card virginia

Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in VA?

To apply for a medical marijuana card in VA, you must be a state resident aged 18+.

Cost of MMJ Card in VA

The medical marijuana card cost in VA no longer involves an application fee, along with what you pay for the consultation. Fortunately, it is significantly easier to find a qualified physician willing to give a written recommendation for MMJ in Virginia than ever before. You can still request a physical MMJ card from the Board of Pharmacy and pay $50, but this is no longer required.

VA MMJ Card Qualifying Conditions

There are no specific VA medical marijuana card 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

How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in VA?

You’re free to visit a dispensary as soon as you receive the doctor’s written recommendation.

How to Renew My Virginia Medical Card?

The renewal process involves attending another consultation to receive recertification. However, it is possible to book these appointments online.


Other Information on the VA Medical Marijuana License Process

We have put together a short FAQ to help answer any other queries you have. The Virginia MMJ situation remains a little confusing, so we hope the following information helps.

What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in VA?

You can purchase marijuana products in various forms, including tinctures, creams, oils, sprays, capsules, botanical cannabis, and gels.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in VA Online

Several services enable you to book an online consultation with a licensed physician. Appointments often only last for 15 minutes, and if approved, you will receive the written doctor’s certification you need to buy MMJ at a dispensary.

Can I Register My Child for Medical Marijuana in VA?

Yes. However, a parent or legal guardian must apply on behalf of applicants aged 17 or under and be listed on the doctor’s written certification. If the parent or legal guardian wishes to get an optional registration card, they must apply for board registration.

Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Virginia?

At present, a handful of pharmaceutical companies in the state sell what you need. You can currently purchase MMJ in numerous locations, including:

  • Alexandria
  • Manassas
  • Abingdon
  • Salem
  • Richmond
  • Portsmouth
  • Virginia Beach

Also, these dispensaries can only sell the extract of cannabis if it comes from a farm in the state.

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?

You can only purchase THC-A oil or CBD oil with a maximum of 10mg of THC per dose. A “dose” relates to a single unit, such as one capsule. “Dosage” is the amount taken each time, such as three sprays twice a day.

Products must also contain a minimum of 5mg of CBD or THC-A per dispensed dose. Currently, there is no limit on the number of doses patients can purchase. However, they are only allowed a 90-day supply, which means the amount varies from patient to patient.

The MMJ law also says patients can get up to four ounces of cannabis flower per 30 days. It is calculated into the total 90-day supply.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Virginia with a Medical Marijuana Card?

Technically yes. Any adult aged 21+ in Virginia can cultivate a maximum of four plants. Each plant must have a tag with the grower’s name, driver’s license or ID number, and a note stating that they’re cultivating it for personal use as authorized by law. MMJ patients aged 18-20 can’t cultivate cannabis under the new law.

The above is all moot anyway since there is no legal method of purchasing seeds! Also, it is against federal law to purchase seeds elsewhere and bring them across state lines.

Where Can I Use My MMJ?

As with most states with MMJ programs, it is only legal to use your medicine in a private residence.

Does Virginia Recognize Out-of-State MMJ Cards?

No. The state of Virginia doesn’t recognize MMJ cards from other states. Also, few states offer reciprocity to Virginia patients, although Washington, D.C., did in October 2020.

What Are the Caregiver Rules?

Virginia refers to caregivers as “registered agents.” The process involves completing two application forms and a lot of other paperwork. The registration fee is $25, and an agent can help a maximum of two patients.

What If I Lose My Medical Card in Virginia?

If you lose your doctor’s certification, contact the clinic.

When Did Medical Marijuana in Virginia Become Legal?

After almost a century of prohibition, it took surprisingly little time for full marijuana legalization to occur in Virginia. MMJ became legal in March 2015, although medical marijuana sales didn’t begin until August 2020.

The state decriminalized the personal possession of small amounts of cannabis in February 2020. 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.

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. This law 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 2025 for adult-use sales to begin. Therefore, you still face penalties for the illegal purchase of weed in the state.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Virginia Beach

Finding a doctor to certify you is easy in Virginia Beach, the state’s most populous city. You even have the option of scheduling an online certification if you wish. However, finding a dispensary is more difficult than one might imagine. Your best option is the dispensary owned by Cannabist, located at 535 N Birdneck Road.

MMJ Card for Veterans in VA

Veterans are now encouraged to discuss marijuana use with their VA providers and will not be denied benefits for using MMJ. Many clinics offer discounts on certifications to military veterans, so shop around to see if you can save money.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Virginia Medical Marijuana Card

Ultimately, Virginia now has a medical marijuana program of sorts, and SB 1015 changed everything. As of July 2020, MMJ users were no longer reliant on Affirmative Defense.

The decriminalization bill signed into law in July 2020 also significantly changed the marijuana landscape in Virginia.

Although the state legalized adult-use marijuana, sales are not due to begin until May 2025 at the earliest. Until then, the only way to get THC products in the state is to schedule a consultation with a physician and receive their written certification. With no MMJ card to worry about, you can go to the dispensary directly from the doctor’s office once they recommend you!

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