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Is CBD Legal in Virginia?

The popularity of CBD products has surged in recent years, with more and more consumers turning to CBD as a potential remedy for an array of health issues, ranging from anxiety to chronic pain. As interest in CBD products continues to grow in the U.S., so too do questions about its legality in the different states.

One state that’s seen a fair few legal discussions on CBD is Virginia—a state that’s just recently made amendments to its Food and Drink and Industrial Hemp Laws. (1) This article delves into the current status of CBD usage in the state and sheds light on the recent changes to hemp laws in Virginia. By painting a clearer picture of Virginia’s legal framework surrounding CBD use, consumers can have better knowledge of what’s allowed and what’s not when it comes to purchasing CBD products in Virginia.

Hemp-derived CBD vs. Marijuana-derived CBD

A fundamental factor in understanding the laws surrounding CBD is the difference between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD. The two have varying levels of THC, which is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” that’s associated with consuming marijuana-related products. 

Hemp has very little THC and rarely causes the “high” feeling associated with marijuana use. Thus, hemp-derived CBD products are usually manufactured with no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Thanks to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018—commonly known as the Farm Bill (2)—hemp-derived CBD with THC levels equal to or below 0.3% has been declared legal on a federal level. Thus, hemp-derived CBD and other hemp products have been removed from the list of controlled substances, and most states—including Virginia—can legally produce, cultivate, and distribute CBD products, though specific restrictions may vary per state.

On the other hand, marijuana-derived CBD has a higher THC level and thus falls under stricter regulations. Recreational use of marijuana and marijuana-related products with a THC content that exceeds the limit of 0.3% is illegal in Virginia.

In short, hemp-derived CBD that falls within the stipulated THC levels of 0.3% and under is legal in Virginia, while marijuana-derived CBD with higher THC levels is not. 

What are the current hemp CBD laws in Virginia?

Virginia’s Industrial Hemp law and Food and Drink law have undergone recent changes, changes which took effect last July 1, 2023. (3) The amendments have delineated specific rules and regulations regarding hemp-derived CBD production and selling, though the amendments mostly affect CBD retailers rather than consumers. These new rules include:

  • Specifying THC limit and Ratios: In compliance with federal law, hemp products available for retail must contain no more than 0.3% total THC. The THC content must also not exceed 2mg per package, unless the product maintains a CBD to THC ratio of at least 25 parts CBD to one part total THC. 
  • Edible Hemp Products Disclosure: Any entity intending to manufacture, sell, or offer for sale an orally consumable hemp-derived CBD product must submit an Edible Hemp Products Disclosure Form.
  • Packaging Requirements: Edible hemp products containing any amount of THC must be packaged in child-resistant packaging.
  • Labeling and Certification: Edible hemp products are now mandated to bear specific labeling information and must be accompanied by a certificate of analysis issued by an independent, accredited laboratory. Retailers are required to have the laboratory’s certificate of accreditation available for review.
  • Prohibitions: The Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) prohibits the sale of products meant for human consumption that contain synthetic derivatives of THC.

While it’s important to understand and read through any new changes to CBD laws in your state, we’d also like to note that these amendments do not greatly concern the average CBD consumer, as these amendments were created primarily to regulate CBD production and largely affect CBD retailers. The only thing to watch out for is that the new stipulation on THC content not exceeding 2 mg per package may affect you if you purchase your CBD products in bulk. Other than that, you can rest assured that you’ll still be able to legally find and consume CBD products in Virginia.

Is hemp-derived CBD legal in Virginia?

As mentioned in the previous section, hemp-derived CBD is legal, as long as the THC content is equal or under the 0.3% THC limit. Individuals purchasing multiple CBD products must also ensure that the total THC content of the products does not exceed 2 mg. 

Can minors buy CBD products in Virginia?

Despite Virginia’s more stringent rules when it comes to CBD packaging and labeling, the state has more lax regulations when it comes to the age requirement for purchasing CBD products

Currently, there are no age restrictions for purchasing CBD in Virginia. However, business owners, vendors, and online sellers may enact their own age requirements and may require buyers to be at least 18 years old to purchase.

Can you buy marijuana-derived CBD products in Virginia?

No, you cannot buy marijuana-derived CBD products in Virginia. Marijuana-derived CBD products exceed the 0.3% THC limit and thus are illegal in the state. Virginia has not legalized recreational marijuana use, and this rule extends to marijuana-derived CBD products. However, Virginia has legalized medical marijuana for qualifying conditions or diseases. Consumers of the medical marijuana program can purchase a limited supply of marijuana products, including marijuana-derived CBD.

Does Virginia have a medical marijuana program?

Yes, Virginia has a medical marijuana program. In fact, Virginia’s come a long way in establishing an accessible medical cannabis program for patients. The state’s laws do not list specific illnesses or diseases that can qualify for medical marijuana, rather, the laws only state that individuals can purchase medical marijuana to “alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.” (4)

Also of note, House Bill HB933 (5) enacted last July 2022, brought about significant changes in the state’s medical marijuana program. Unlike other states where proof of registration with the Board of Pharmacy is obligatory, in Virginia registration is no longer required. Instead, an individual can request a written certification for the use of medical cannabis from their practitioner, and show this certificate when purchasing products at state-approved dispensaries. 

Another option for purchasing medical marijuana and marijuana-derived CBD products is to avail of a registration card for medical cannabis. The registration card can be obtained by paying a fee of $50 and submitting written certification from a doctor and proof of residency to Virginia’s medical marijuana program’s online application. While this card isn’t mandatory, once granted, the card can be used in lieu of a written certification.

In short, Virginia’s existing medical marijuana program should allow you to purchase marijuana-derived CBD and other products as long as you have a written certification from a practitioner, or have applied for a medical cannabis registration card.

Can you buy CBD hemp flower in Virginia?

Yes, it’s legal to sell CBD hemp flower in Virginia. Conforming to federal law, it’s legal to sell hemp-related products–including the flower itself—as long as the hemp has less than 0.3% THC in dry weight. However, high-quality hemp can look, feel, and smell similarly to marijuana. Considering how recreational marijuana is still illegal in Virginia, many vendors aren’t keen to add hemp flower to their stores. Should you wish to purchase hemp flower in Virginia, purchasing online may be the better option.

Can you smoke or consume CBD in public in Virginia?

There are no specific laws regarding smoking CBD flower or consuming CBD products in public. Again, hemp-derived CBD is legal across the U.S., thus smoking the flower or consuming the products in public is technically legal. Of note, however, is that Virginia law prohibits smoking or vaping outdoors and in indoor public spaces. While these restrictions are meant for those who smoke tobacco and nicotine products, these restrictions could potentially extend to hemp products as well. 

Additionally, hemp flower has the look, smell, and feel of marijuana flower. Knowing that marijuana is illegal and that law enforcement may not recognize hemp, it’s discouraged to smoke hemp flower in public areas lest it be mistaken for marijuana. 

Can you bring CBD gummies and other products to Virginia?

Yes, it’s legal to bring CBD gummies and other CBD products to Virginia, as long as the CBD within these products is less than or equal to 0.3% THC. Packages of CBD products must also have less than 2 mg THC total. 

Is it Legal to Grow CBD Hemp in Virginia?

Yes, it’s legal to Grow CBD Hemp in Virginia. However, the state generally has stricter regulations for CBD production and retailing than it does for CBD consumption, so growing CBD hemp in Virginia will require specific licenses.The process requires submission of an application to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), who will provide the licenses for growing, processing, and dealing with industrial hemp. The application will require comprehensive information about the area you will be growing the hemp in. You’ll also need to submit a criminal background report and pay a fee of $150.

Virginia’s legal framework for CBD products aims to provide safe and quality products to consumers while recent amendments to the state’s Industrial Hemp laws and medical cannabis programs have made purchasing CBD products easier. Staying informed on CBD regulations is crucial for both compliance and safe consumption.