2020 Updates to Virginia Cannabis License Consulting
The state of Virginia was not always so welcoming to the idea of legalization. However, in 2016, Virginia did legalize CBD for patients with epilepsy. Prior to decriminalization, the maximum penalty for possession was $500 or 30 days of jail time. On July 1, 2020, Virginia made updates to many of its marijuana laws. This included laws for pharmaceutical marijuana businesses, opening the conversation for Virginia cannabis license consulting. Quantum 9, a leading cannabis consultant firm, reports on these new changes to Virginia policy.
The History of Cannabis in Virginia
A chain of events in Virginia law history would lead to this year’s improvements in Virginia cannabis license consulting. This could affect how you choose your cannabis consultant.
In February of 2015, Gov. McAuliffe passed affirmative legal defense to CBD patients. In other words, this allows patients in Virginia to purchase CBD products outside of the state. At first, this only applied to epilepsy patients, but in 2018, it expanded to all conditions. Similarly, the board originally only defined practitioners as doctors or osteopaths. However, changes made on July 1st, 2020 now allow nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to make recommendations.
In 2018, the Board of Pharmacy divided the state into 5 regions. The Board gave each region 1 pharmaceutical processing license. These regions are called Health Service Areas (HSAs). The Board announced that in 2021, each of the 5 processors would be allowed to open 5 additional dispensaries.
The first 5 pharmaceutical processors were Columbia Care, Dalitso, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical, and PharmaCann.
(source: 13, J., & Brochstein, E. A. (2020, July 13). Virginia Medical Cannabis Sales Set to Commence Within Two Months. Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.newcannabisventures.com/virginia-medical-cannabis-sales-set-to-commence-within-two-months/)
2020 Brings Possible Changes to Virginia Cannabis License
July 1, 2020, was a big day for cannabis businesses and medical users in Virginia. The state decriminalized possession of marijuana under 1/2 oz, effective on July 1 (see more about this here!). Before, the maximum fine for possession was $500 or 30 days in jail. After they passed the new laws, the max fine became only $25.
Another important change for Virginia cannabis licenses is that JLARC is now allowed to study legalization. JLARC is also known as the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. This organization studies legalization, growth, and possession. They use data from their observations to make recommendations about legalization.
This is a really big step to further legalization as Virginia law advances!
July 1 also starts the ability of HSAs to dispense CBD products, as well as sample testing. After July 1, drug-related felonies no longer affect food stamp eligibility.
To see a full and detailed list of laws and changes made to Virginia cannabis licenses and laws, please click here.
So, what’s currently legal in Virginia?
Well, right now, Virginia has only legalized medical-use marijuana. This includes CBD oils and THC-A for the treatment of any medical condition. The Board of Pharmacy must approve any practitioner that wants to recommend cannabis products. Similarly, the practitioner also has to have a practitioner registration with the state.
As of July 23, 2020, recreational use of marijuana is still not considered legal, though amounts under 1/2 oz are decriminalized.
Virginia Cannabis Licenses
So, what license or permit will I need?
That all depends on what you’re trying to do with your registration. This is why getting a cannabis consultant is a great idea.
Virginia currently allows the following people to register:
- Registered agents
- Parents / Legal Guardians
- Pharmaceutical processor permit
So, what does each of these mean?
A patient is a person whose practitioner has written them certification for CBD oil. A registered practitioner must be the one who has written this certification.
So, how do I register as a patient?
To register as a patient, visit this website. The initial registration fee is $50 with an annual renewal fee of $50.
What is a registered practitioner?
A registered practitioner is a physician, osteopath, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. Basically, any of these people who have been registered with the Board of Pharmacy.
How do I register as a practitioner?
To register as a practitioner, please visit this link. There is an initial registration fee of $50. Similarly, there is an annual renewal fee of $50 for practitioners.
A registered agent is allowed to receive CBD on behalf of a patient or legal guardian of a patient.
How do I register as a registered agent?
Firstly, you should check out this page for instructions on registration. There is a $25 registration fee. There is also a $25 renewal fee for registered agents.
Pharmaceutical Processor Permit
Virginia cannabis licenses are currently a little limited due to their regulations for having only 1 HSA per district.
So, right now, the state of Virginia is only allowing 1 HSA per division within the state. There are only 5 of these divisions right now. Therefore, there can only be 5 HSAs in the state of Virginia.
As of July 23, 2020, those HSAs are MedMen, Jushi Holdings, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical, and Columbia Care. However, in June 2020, the Board of Pharmacy rescinded MedMen’s approval. This means that there will be an open application later this year.
MedMen would have held the processing license for HSA 1, which serves the Charlottesville area. In other words, there will be 1 open application in the state for the final remaining pharmaceutical processor permit in Virginia.
So, how would you go about getting this permit?
Firstly, you should be aware of the fees. There is an initial $10,000 application fee to apply to register for the permit. Then, there is a $60,000 permit fee. Lastly, there is a $10,000 annual renewal fee.
Right now, the applications are closed for the pharmaceutical processor permit, but we will have more information about registration when the application opens up! As a leading cannabis consultant firm, Quantum 9 is adamant about staying on top of these updates as they come in.
What about dispensaries?
Lawmakers introduced SB 976 in April 2020. This law allows each of the HSAs to own or partially own up to 5 dispensaries. As of right now, all dispensaries in the state must be at least partially owned by one of the HSAs. Applications are set to open up for dispensaries in 2021.
This means that there could be up to 25 dispensaries in the state of Virginia, which is very exciting for those wanting to break into the industry!
Quantum 9 is Here to Help!
Quantum 9 is a global leader in cannabis consulting. Any questions that you have about getting a Virginia cannabis license, retrieving a permit or registration can be answered by one of our knowledgeable consultants. We have the resources to be knowledgeable about any topic you may need help with as you venture into the cannabis industry! Check out our services here.
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