“Virginia missed the opportunity,” said Pedini. “The next opportunity will be the next legislative session in 2022 or a legislative special session.”
Virginia legislators approved a medical cannabis program and have actively chosen to maintain it.
Not just consumers but Virginia as a whole. With regulations comes public safety, Pedini emphasized.
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.
In the meantime, if Virginians can’t purchase anything legally in Virginia, can they get marijuana plants from outside the state and bring them in?
The four medical cannabis dispensaries now open are the only places that potentially could sell pot seeds and clone plants to Virginians legally. This would not only allow consumers to make a legal purchase, it also allows them to grow the four pot plants without doing anything illegal to plant them in the first place.
On July 1, adults 21 and older will be legally permitted to grow up to four plants per household for personal use.
“The primary objective of legalization is to reduce criminalization and then to regulate safe legal access, so we’re checking one box, but we’re not checking the other this year,” Pedini said.
“Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and because Virginia needs time to stand-up the regulatory structure for safe sales, it will not be legal to sell seeds or other marijuana until 2024,” Yarmosky said.
“The only legal sale of cannabis in Virginia is through the medical (marijuana) program,” Pedini said.
Although people can legally cultivate marijuana plants beginning July 1, it will still be illegal for anyone to buy cannabis seeds or cuttings needed to grow those plants. That’s one of the contradictions bothering Republican Sen. Ryan McDougle, who voted against the legislation.
People will be allowed to share small amounts of seeds with one another, but they can’t sell them.
“The biggest inconsistency is you cannot legally buy marijuana for recreational use in the commonwealth of Virginia,” McDougle said.
The process has resulted in some contradictions that may not get resolved until years after legalization begins.
It will be years before legal retail sales is allowed in Virginia.
“The hard-fought compromise that barely made it out of this chamber and over to the Senate has just been discarded. And why is that? It’s because some activists want marijuana legalized and they want it legalized now, consequences be damned,” he said.
It will not be legal for that “gift exchange” to happen in public.
“What we don’t want in Virginia is for people who think they’re doing the right thing to inadvertently break the law and get in trouble for it,” he said. “It’s incumbent on us as responsible adults now that cannabis is legal in Virginia to follow the rules. I’ve never been much of a rule follower, but a lot of us have been waiting for this for a long time, so we’re not going to mess it up.”
Del. Chris Head (R – Roanoke County) called the bill “a train wreck.”
Christopher Haynie, who co-founded Richmond-based CBD, hemp, and home grow products store Happy Tree Agricultural Supply advised
Virginians thinking of navigating the new regulations to grow the plants at home to proceed with clarity and caution.
How does one grow marijuana without first breaking the law to acquire the seed?