Breaking down the bud, clarifying VA marijuana legalization

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FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2019, file photo, marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, Calif. The Justice Department is moving forward to expand the number of marijuana growers for federally-authorized cannabis research. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS) — Virginia became the first state in the South to begin the process of legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis last year. Starting on Thursday, July 1, 2021, new laws will go into effect.

Governor Ralph Northam introduced House Bill 2312 HB2312 and Senate Bill 1406 SB1406 to begin creating a plan for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Starting Thursday, Adults 21 years and older will be allowed to have up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use.

You’ll also be able to grow marijuana plants in your home, but it is still illegal to buy seeds or sell or distribute marijuana. It will not be legal to sell marijuana until January 1, 2024.

Here’s a breakdown of the rules, according to cannabis.virginia.gov:

This is what is LEGAL July 1st, 2021:

  • Adults 21 years and older will be allowed to possess not more than one ounce of cannabis for personal use.
  • Adults 21 years and older will be allowed to use marijuana in private residences. However, nothing prohibits the owner of a private residence from restricting the use of marijuana on its premises.
  • Adults 21 and over will also be allowed to grow up to four plants per household (not per person), according to specified requirements.
  • “Adult sharing” or transferring one ounce or less of marijuana between persons who are 21 years or older without remuneration will be legal. “Adult sharing” does not include instances in which marijuana is given away contemporaneously with another reciprocal transaction between the same parties; a gift of marijuana is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services; or a gift of marijuana is contingent upon a separate reciprocal transaction for goods or services.

This is what is ILLEGAL July 1st, 2021:

  • It will remain illegal for anyone to possess more than one ounce of marijuana. Individuals found guilty of possessing more than one ounce, but not more than one pound of marijuana are subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25. Individuals found guilty of possessing more than one pound are subject to a felony.
  • It will remain illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume, purchase, or possess marijuana, or to attempt to consume, purchase or possess any amount of marijuana.
  • It will remain illegal to distribute or sell marijuana, and/or to possess any amount of marijuana with the intent to distribute or sell it. This prohibition applies equally to businesses, which will not be permitted to sell, “gift,” or in any other way distribute marijuana.
  • Existing safety measures will remain in place, including prohibiting use of marijuana while driving a motor vehicle or while being a passenger in a motor vehicle being driven; possessing marijuana on school grounds, while operating a school bus, in a motor vehicle transporting passengers for hire, or in a commercial vehicle.
  • It will remain illegal to consume marijuana or offer marijuana to another person in any public place.

When will sales begin?

It will not be legal to sell marijuana before January 1, 2024. The law will create a new, independent political authority to regulate the marijuana industry, according to Virginia’s cannabis website. Many of the regulatory sections of the bill must be approved again by the 2022 General Assembly before becoming law.

If you’d like to contact the governor about this bill, you can contact his office here:

Governor Ralph Northam
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218
804-786-2211

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