The registration for physicians, patients and caregivers is now open.
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 physician prior to applying for registration with the Board of Pharmacy and possessing the oils.
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.
If you have been issued a written certification within the last 12 months, submit the online application for obtaining board registration. To assert the affirmative defense, an unexpired valid written certification issued from a board-registered physician and a current active patient registration issued by the Board of Pharmacy is necessary. Register here.
If you have been recently issued a written certification for a minor or incapacitated adult or within the last 12 months, submit the online applications for both a patient and the parent/guardian in the following order:
- The parent/guardian residing at the same address as the patient should first submit the patient registration application.
- The parent/guardian residing at the same address as the patient should submit the parent/guardian application.
- Any other parent/guardian who has also been issued a written certification and in need of obtaining board registration should submit the parent/guardian application to the board.
Each parent/guardian must obtain his or her own board registration. The online registration application is accessible on the Initial Applications site and may be renewed annually. Register here.
Before a physician can issue or continue issuing written certifications, they must register with the Board of Pharmacy. The annual registration fee is $50. The Board of Pharmacy will email the physician a link to the written certification form once the board issues the physician registration. Please allow 7-10 days for processing the registration application and receiving the email with the link to the written certification. Learn More about Physician registration.
How to Apply
Begin the application process by completing the online portion of the application; submitting the application fee using a credit or debit card (Visa or MasterCard). Complete the online application by submitting required documentation to the board office. Incomplete applications will not be processed and application fees are non-refundable.
1. Fees – $50.00 for each application submitted. The application fee is nonrefundable.
2. Required Documentation
- 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
3. Documentation Submission–documents may be submitted via:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax to (804) 527-4472; or
- Mail to:
Virginia Board of Pharmacy Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233-1463
What documentation should I submit for Residency/Age/Identity?
A valid Virginia driver’s license or Virginia DMV-issue identification card. A passport might be accepted. Board of Pharmacy says they will issue additional guidance soon.
Is there a list of physicians who will make recommendations?
To search for registered physicians visit this Virginia Department of Health Professions link. Under “Occupation” select “Registered Physician For CBD/THC-A Oil” and press “Search.” Be patient, it takes a minute for the search to complete.
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?
The Virginia House and Senate have unanimously passed HB1251 and SB726, respectively, to expand Virginia’s medical cannabis oil program from the single qualifying condition of intractable epilepsy to any diagnosed condition. The legislation provides an affirmative defense for possession, and does not make possession legal.
When did the law take effect?
Governor Northam signed the identical Joint Commission on Healthcare bills HB1251 on 3/9/18 and SB726 on 4/9/18. He added an emergency clause to the bills during the legislative process allowing immediate enactment with his signature. First, this expands the affirmative defense for possession to all patients. Second, it will expand access to Virginia’s regulated medical cannabis program once it becomes operational (scheduled for late 2109).
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
- Keep your certification with your oil at all times.
- Present your certification if questioned by law enforcement.
- If not accepted and charged with possession, call an attorney or ask for court-appointed counsel.
- Present your signed certification 10 days prior to trial as directed.
How will patients get medical cannabis oil?
In 2017, Virginia approved a regulatory program for the in-state production of medical cannabis oil by five providers initially, one per Health Service Area, who will grow, extract, dispense and deliver the medical cannabis oils. These licensed providers are 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 in late 2019, they will be able to fill their recommendation at one of five “pharmaceutical processors” in Virginia.
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, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have regulated adult-use and operational dispensaries. Maine, Massachusetts, 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.
Is this only for oils?
The affirmative defense applies to oil products only. The oil must contain at least 5mg/mL CBD or at least 5mg/mL THCA-A and may contain no more than 5% THC. The affirmative defense does not apply to flower, to other products, or to products outside the allowed cannabinoid ratios.
Will doctors write prescriptions for medical cannabis?
No, it is legally inaccurate to use the word “prescription.” Practitioners will issue written certifications the oils, not prescriptions. Prescribe is reserved for FDA-regulated products, and means to write a prescription on a DEA-numbered prescription pad.
Are the oils psychoactive?
Yes, psychoactive means to cause a change in the brain. Psychoactive does not mean intoxicating, psychotropic or hallucinogenic. (Also, marijuana is not hallucinogenic). If CBD were not psychoactive, it would not be a mild antidepressant nor possess anti-seizure, anti-depressant or anti-anxiety capabilities. It is accurate to instead say the oils are non-intoxicating.
Isn't this just for CBD oil?
No, Virginia will produce whole-flower extractions. The oils must contain at least 5mg/mL CBD or at least 5mg/mL THCA-A and may contain no more than 5% THC.
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. The CBD products you’re buying from Amazon, Walmart or the pet store are typically made from crystalline isolate reconstituted in a carrier oil. CBD is isolated from cannabis extracts and crystalized, usually in China or Spain, and then imported to the US. It is then mixed into a food-grade oil like hemp or olive, and then sold by retailers. Labeling the product “CBD hemp oil” or "hemp-derived CBD" does not make it legal. These products are not required to meet any safety, quality, consistency, or labeling standards. Buyer beware!
Many patients and families we’ve worked with in the General Assembly speak highly of Haleigh’s Hope.
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. This may change with Virginia’s registration process.
Remember, make good choices.
- Don't consume your medicine in public.
- Don't take it out of your home unless absolutely necessary.
- Keep your signed certificate with the oil at all times.
- If you must travel with your medicine, place it in a locked container in your trunk.
- Don't drive impaired. Ever.
- Don't post on social media about your 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.