Virginia Medical Cannabis FAQs



Can I get a medical cannabis card in Virginia?

Yes, patients, parents, and legal guardians may now apply to obtain registration from the Board of Pharmacy.  A patient, parent, or legal guardian must have a written certification issued to them by a registered practitioner prior to applying for registration with the Board of Pharmacy and possessing medical cannabis products.

In addition to being issued a valid written certification from a Board of Pharmacy-registered physician, the patient and, if such patient is a minor or an incapacitated adult as defined in 18.2-369, such patient's parent or guardian, must obtain registration from the Board of Pharmacy. The written certification alone no longer satisfies the conditions for asserting an affirmative defense.

How do I register?

Please visit How to Register for more information.

Is there a list of practitioners who will make recommendations?

Yes, please visit Find a Practitioner for more information on finding a registered practitioner.

Can my doctor make a recommendation for me?

Only registered physicians may issue the required written certification. Talk to your doctor and ask if she knows about the change in law. Share the with her the eighth edition of Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, A Review of Scientific Literature. Ask her to register with the Board of Pharmacy.

Did Virginia legalize medical marijuana?

Until July 1, 2020, medical cannabis possession remains illegal in Virginia. The legislature has chosen to provide an affirmative defense for registered patients, caregivers, and pharmaceutical processors.

July 1, 2020, possession of authorized medical cannabis products by those registered to participate in the state's program are provided explicit statutory legal protection.

When did the law take effect?

The original affirmative defense law was passed in 2015 for intractable epilepsy and expanded in 2018 for any condition as recommended by a practitioner.

July 1, 2020, possession of authorized medical cannabis products by those registered to participate in the state's program are provided explicit statutory legal protection.

What’s affirmative defense?

Affirmative defense defeats or mitigates the legal consequences of the defendant’s otherwise unlawful conduct. While it will not be legal, technically, to possess the oils, a patient or their caregiver would be able to present their registration if they were stopped by law enforcement or in a court of law as their defense for possession of the oil. 

To assert the affirmative defense, an unexpired valid written certification issued from a board-registered physician and a current active patient and/or caregiver registration issued by the Board of Pharmacy is necessary.

Affirmative defense guidelines

  1. Keep your certification with your oil at all times.
  2. Present your certification if questioned by law enforcement.
  3. If not accepted and charged with possession, call an attorney or ask for court-appointed counsel.
  4. Present your signed certification 10 days prior to trial as directed. 


How will patients get medical cannabis products?

In 2017, Virginia approved a regulatory program for the in-state production of medical cannabis oils by five providers initially, one per Health Service Area (HSA), who will grow, extract, dispense and deliver the medical cannabis oils. These licensed providersare called “pharmaceutical processors” in the Code, and are simply vertically-integrated dispensaries, meaning everything from growth through dispensation is done on one site by one provider. Patients and caregivers may now register with the program. Once facilities are operational patients will be able to fill their recommendation at one of five “pharmaceutical processors” in Virginia. 

Facilities are anticipated to begin serving patients in the second half of 2020.

How much does it cost to register?

Fee is $50 for each application submitted. The application fee is nonrefundable.

What documentation is required to register?

  • Completed Certification for the use of Cannabidiol Oil or THC-A Oil

  • Proof of Patient’s Residency

  • Proof of Patient’s Identity

  • Proof of Patient’s Age

  • Proof of Parent/Guardian Residency

  • Proof of Parent/Guardian Identity

  • Proof of Parent/Guardian Age

How do I contact Board of Pharmacy?

  • Email

  • Fax (804) 527-4472

  • Virginia Board of Pharmacy
    Perimeter Center
    9960 Mayland Drive
    Suite 300
    Henrico, VA 23233-1463

Where will the pharmaceutical processors be located?



MedMen operates in several states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, and New York. Founded in 2010, MedMen believes that a world where cannabis is legal and regulated is safer, healthier and happier.


Dalitso LLC is dedicated to producing quality CBD oil and THC-A oil for Virginians suffering from debilitating medical conditions.

This Northern Virginia-based provider of medical cannabis extracts looks forward to obtaining final approval of its permit and opening its pharmaceutical processor facility in Prince William County in the coming months.


Dharma Pharmaceuticals is a locally owned company based in Bristol, Virginia and is committed to bringing high quality CBD and THC-A oil products to Virginia’s patients. With deep ties to southwest Virginia, we look forward to providing medical cannabis to Virginians seeking these new treatments.


Green Leaf Medical of Virginia, LLC is committed to providing patients with safe and effective pharmaceutical grade medical cannabis products. Green Leaf also operates cannabis businesses in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio. For its Virginia operations, Green Leaf has partnered with local business owners, and is collaborating with physicians and medical researchers to offer residents the highest level of patient centered care.  Green Leaf Medical of Virginia is located in the capital city of Richmond.  


Columbia Care is a patient-centered healthcare company setting the standard-of-care for medical cannabis. Its leadership draws seasoned professionals from medicine, law, finance, healthcare and operations who believe in this new frontier in medicine.

What do I do in the meantime?

While it is illegal to transport any marijuana products across any state lines, that is exactly what many patients have been doing since the law took effect in 2015. Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have regulated adult-use and operational dispensaries. Maine, Vermont and the District of Columbia do not have operational adult-use dispensaries.

No states have yet signaled that they are offering reciprocity to Virginia patients. That may change with the newly implemented registration process in Virginia. Sign up for our newsletter and follow Cannabis Commonwealth for up-to-date patient and provider information to stay up to date.

Many patients and families we’ve worked with in the General Assembly speak highly of Haleigh’s Hope, which is produced organically in Colorado under strict consumer safety guidelines.

Is this only for oils?

No, SB1557 clarifies that any formulation may be dispensed. Patients can expect to see preparations typical of compounding pharmacies, like capsules, sprays, tinctures, oils, creams, gels, lozenges, patches, troches, suppositories, and lollipops.

Is it only CBD or low-THC preparations?

No, the products may contain up to 10 mg THC per dose. “Dose" means a single unit, like one capsule or one dropperful. “Dosage" is the total amount taken each time, for example 2 sprays 4 time per day. There are no limits on dosage.

Are flower or edibles allowed?

No, the affirmative defense does not apply to flower, to food products, or to preparations outside the allowed cannabinoid amounts. 

Will doctors write prescriptions for medical cannabis?

No, doctors in the US cannot “prescribe" medical cannabis, but they can recommend it. Virginia practitioners issue written certifications, not prescriptions. 

Are the oils psychoactive?

Yes, psychoactive means to affect the brain. Psychoactive does not​ explicitly mean intoxicating, psychotropic or hallucinogenic. (Also, marijuana is nothallucinogenic).

If CBD were not psychoactive, it would not be an anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, or antidepressant. It is accurate to instead say CBD products are non-intoxicating.

Preparations that contain higher amounts of THC may be intoxicating to some users.

Isn’t CBD already legal in all 50 states?

No, cannabidiol (CBD), like all organic cannabinoids, is considered by DEA, Congress, FDA, and NIDA to be a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The DEA recently reaffirmed its position here.

Yeah, but if it’s from hemp it's totally legal, right?

The DEA does not agree with this position. States the DEA: “Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 authorizes institutions of higher education (e.g., universities) and state Departments of Agriculture to grow and cultivate ‘industrial hemp’ (defined under the Act as marijuana with a THC content of 0.3 percent or less) for agricultural research purposes where permitted under state law.   However, the Agricultural Act of 2014 does not permit such entities, or anyone else, to produce non-FDA-approved drug products made from cannabis.” In February 2018, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard oral arguments in the Hemp Industries Association’s petition challenging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s position. The Court denied the petition, upholding the DEA’s classification.

But you can already buy CBD oil online!

That doesn’t make it federally legal. These products are not required to meet any safety, quality, consistency, or labeling standards. Buyer beware!

Can I get medical cannabis at a medical dispensary in another state?

Maybe. States that offer reciprocity might allow you to purchase medicine for use while in that state. Calling the dispensary you plan to visit is the best way to answer that question. Washington, DC did not include Virginia in its list of states to which it offers reciprocity. Maryland’s program intended to allow non-resident participation but is still denying out-of-state applicants. 

Do I have to give up my legally obtained firearms?

The consensus at NORML is that the conclusion reached by the ATF and Justices of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is based on a broad interpretation of a 1968 federal law forbidding the sale of firearms to those considered an "unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance." At this point in time, no state is engaged in the sharing of data related to state-sanctioned activities of medical cannabis patients. So, unless a person responds "yes" to the question regarding their marijuana use on the NICS background check, the federal government has no real way to enforce this outdated law. Furthermore, since the passage of Rohrabacher-Farr, the DOJ cannot use federal funds to prosecute medical cannabis patients who are engaged in state-sanctioned activity. 

To address this current conflict between state-legal medical cannabis use and federal law related to purchasing firearms, Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA) has cosponsored H.R. 2071 which states, “an individual shall not be treated as an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance based on the individual using marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with State law.”

There is no credible justification for a ‘marijuana exception’ to the US Constitution. Responsible patients who use cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their state or territory ought to receive the same legal rights and protections as do other citizens. That's why members of Congress must act swiftly to protect the Second Amendment Rights of medical cannabis patients from undue federal interference. Contact your Representative in support here.

Remember, make good choices.

  1. Don't consume your cannabis medicine in public.
  2. Don't take it out of your home unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Keep your signed certificate with your cannabis medicine at all times.
  4. If you must travel with your cannabis medicine, place it in a locked container in your trunk.
  5. Don't drive impaired. Ever.
  6. Don't post on social media about your cannabis medicine.


I have more questions!

Great! We’re here to help. Feel free to contact Virginia NORML at 804-464-7050 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM.