RICHMOND, Va. -- When Virginia's new marijuana laws go into effect on July 1, it will become legal for adults 21+ to carry up to an ounce of marijuana. It will also become legal to grow up to four marijuana plants (per household) in Virginia.
However, it will remain illegal to buy or sell seeds with which to grow the plant.
How does one grow marijuana without first breaking the law to acquire the seed?
It's a question that should be clarified once the new law officially takes effect and the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority jumps into action on July 1.
"Prior to decriminalization taking effect in 2020, the Commonwealth was arresting upwards of 30,000 Virginians annually for marijuana possession," NORML development director Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the executive director of the state chapter, Virginia NORML, said. "So while Virginians may be asking, 'Where can get I cannabis legally,' it's unlikely Virginians are asking, 'Where can I get cannabis?'"
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The new law does provide at least one legal loophole for interested parties to get started.
An adult can legally share or gift a marijuana plant with another adult as long as no money is exchanged or trade occurred.
It will not be legal for that "gift exchange" to happen in public.
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.
“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.”
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It will also be against the law for Virginians to order seeds from other states where marijuana is already legal.
VirginiaNORML has answered some frequently asked questions here.
In April, the Democrat-controlled Virginia General Assembly voted to accept Gov. Ralph Northam's proposed changes to a marijuana legalization bill that will allow limited possession and cultivation of the drug starting in July.
Republicans, who overwhelmingly opposed the bill when it initially went through the General Assembly, railed against the latest version.
Del. Chris Head (R - Roanoke County) called the bill “a train wreck.”
“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 be years before legal retail sales is allowed in Virginia.
The bill lays out the complex process of creating a new state agency to oversee the marijuana marketplace, with sales beginning and regulations going into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
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