Nearly 9,000 constituent contacts were sent to the legislature and administration urging legalization take place in 2021 and not be delayed until 2024 as proposed.
“And that’s Virginia,” said Pedini. “What are you guarding against? You are only creating protections for the illicit Virginia operators.”
What can Virginians do?
States regulate a pathway for adult consumers to shop at medical cannabis dispensaries. Until Virginia implements this, there will be no legal way for adults to obtain seeds or clones until adult-use retail cannabis locations are opened — potentially, in 2024, Pedini explained.
“Virginia missed the opportunity,” said Pedini. “The next opportunity will be the next legislative session in 2022 or a legislative special session.”
“That same majority is not demonstrated in the legislature. Politics takes a front seat and policy takes a back seat.”
Since retail sales will not be allowed until Jan. 1, 2024, the only legal way to obtain marijuana starting July 1 will be growing your own or getting it as a gift from someone who does. The law allows people to provide up to an ounce of marijuana they’ve grown as a gift to any adult.
People caught with more plants than legally allowed face escalating penalties, which increase from a $250 fine for between four and 10 plants to felony charges for more than 50 plants.
Virginians will still need to be careful — from a legal standpoint — with how they obtain and possess marijuana and where they use it.
The new law comes a year after the state decriminalized marijuana. On July 1, 2020, it was still illegal to possess small amounts of marijuana, but the maximum penalty for people caught with an ounce or less of the drug was reduced from a criminal offense to a $25 civil fine.
Home growers must tag each of their plants with their name, driver’s license or state ID number, and note that it is for personal use. Here’s another buzzkill: There is currently no legal way in Virginia to purchase seeds or cuttings for home growing of marijuana.
The law lets people 21 and older carry less than one ounce of marijuana in public. If you get caught with more than one ounce but less than one pound, you’ll have to pay up to a $25 civil penalty. If you get caught with more than a pound, you could get one to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.