Is CBD oil legal in Virginia? [Buyers Guide]

by Edward J. Ross

CBD oil Virginia

Virginia, there's a lot to recommend it. From the Chesapeake Bay to the lower crime rates. Forbes even named it the #1 ranked place for businesses in 2015. The beaches and the mountains are also an added draw, but we bet you came here for one thing; how can you get your CBD oil, legally I might add, in the state.

Virginia has severely restrictive marijuana laws. Marijuana possession charges are not expungable in the state. This means a possession charge will remain on your record for life. Needless to say, the state of Virginia is not a good place to get caught with illegal marijuana.

What is CBD?

CBD, aka cannabidiol, is a compound that can be gotten from hemp or cannabis plants. The CBD market has been growing wildly recently because of CBD's many medical benefits. The compound is the most abundant compound found in cannabis after THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Unlike THC however, CBD doesn't have psychoactive effects. It is touted to help in the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and epileptic seizures among others.

Is CBD legal in Virginia?

The answer is yes, and no. It's more nuanced than black and white because the laws change depending on whether your CBD comes from a flowering marijuana plant or from industrial hemp.

The Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 created schedules of drugs based on abuse and addiction potential and medical benefits. Under the CSA, hemp, and all other forms of the Cannabis Sativa plant fall under Schedule I. Drugs, substances, or chemicals under Schedule I have the distinction of having a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and have a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

However, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 sufficiently altered the definition of hemp, allowing it to be removed from the group of Schedule I substances. The new definition stipulates hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC by weight while marijuana is cannabis containing a THC content of more than 0.3.

The Hemp Farming Act also legalized the cultivation and production of industrial hemp, making hemp-derived CBD legal and marijuana-derived CBD illegal. The act also allowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintain authority over a lot of the details regarding CBD such as labeling, and the use of CBD as an additive in food.

All this makes people just that bit skeptical about marijuana products. It might also make it difficult for you to buy CBD locally.

Marijuana laws in Virginia

Even though purchasing medicinal CBD is possible in Virginia if you have a doctor's recommendation, the wave of marijuana legalization has not reached Virginia yet. This means that marijuana is illegal for both recreational and medicinal purposes.

Despite this, the state has allowed patients with severe medical conditions such as cancer and glaucoma access to some kinds of marijuana to help manage symptoms. Patients with drug-resistant epileptic seizures can also access limited THC CBD and THCA products. Also, in 2018, Governor Ralph Northam approved a bill called House Bill 1251 which provides you with a defense in court if you are arrested for possession, and you have a doctor's recommendation to use THCA and CBD products. The bill doesn't prevent your arrest, it just provides you a valid defense in court.

CBD laws in Virginia

The state of Virginia has long had interest in hemp stemming back to 1997 when the state passed House Joint Resolution 565. HJ 565 allowed a subcommittee to study the economic benefits of production of industrial hemp in the state of Virginia. The six-member sub-committee was also tasked with the study of the barriers to the production of industrial hemp.

Over time and with the passing of HJ 94, it became obvious that hemp could bring about an economic boom for the rural communities of Virginia. HJ 605 then requested that the Commission on Rural Prosperity consider the cultivation of industrial hemp plants as a means of promoting rural prosperity.

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Senate Bill 955 into law in 2015. SB 955 created a university research program whose aim was to redefine hemp as cannabis with a THC concentration below 0.3%. The bill also directed the drafting of regulations and rules for the program and gave higher institutions the authority to establish industrial hemp cultivation programs.

Several bills followed over the years leading up to Virginia's plan to regulate hemp production. This plan was submitted on January 15th 2020 and is under review by the USDA.

Virginia Licencing requirements

Only a registered Industrial Hemp Grower, Dealer, or Processor, or an agent affiliated with the registrant for the purposes of growing, dealing, or processing hemp can legally possess any part of the hemp plant in the state of Virginia. This includes hemp plants, seeds, microgreens, leaves, and flowers. The registration must be renewed annually as it expires within a year of issuance.

As a registered Hemp Grower, you are expected to file and submit a planting report within 14 days of planting any seeds, clones, or cuttings. You will need to file multiple planting reports if you plant multiple times within the growing season.

To become a registered Grower, you need to fill and submit the Industrial Hemp Grower Application. If you are planning to change or add a field location, then you are required to fill out and submit the Industrial Hemp Registration Change form.

If you want to buy, sell, and/or process industrial hemp into hemp products, then you need to submit an Industrial Hemp Dealer Application. To legally purchase industrial hemp from a registered dealer and process it into hemp products, you would need to submit an Industrial Hemp Processor Application.

The Industrial Hemp Registration Guide will be helpful if you have any questions regarding registration.

Virginia possession limits

The state of Virginia allows for qualified patients to possess THCA or CBD oil that contains at most 5% THCA and at least 15% CBD. Processed forms of cannabis, except for the flowers, are allowed and there is no limit on the allowed amount. This law covers anyone with a medical condition who has a written certification from their doctor. Also, there is no allowed limit on the possession of hemp-derived CBD in Virginia.

Where to get CBD products in Virginia

There are five certified dispensaries in the state of Virginia where you can get cannabis oil products. This includes THCA and CBD oil. This was mainly necessary prior to the 2018 Hemp Farming Act. With the passing of the Act, hemp-derived CBD products are now legal in all 50 states and you can purchase them either online or locally without restrictions.

CBD oil buying guide

With cannabis products being so widely available in Virginia, you need to be cautious when buying. Try to make sure that when you buy CBD oil, you do so from reputable sources. The medical cannabis industry is growing prodigiously and currently sits in a legal grey area.

This means that regulations on what can or cannot be called CBD are few. Reputable companies usually include a lab report and certificate of analysis on the label and packaging of the product. Once you have verified the company is reputable by checking the certificate of analysis, you should pay attention to the following information. The following tips should help you remain safe when purchasing CBD oil:

  • Double check the THC content and verify the amount of active CBD per serving
  • Check whether the product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. Full-spectrum CBD means the CBD was extracted from the plant along with all the other cannabinoids and terpenes. This means that whatever trace amounts of THC normally found in the plant will come along for the ride. 

    Broad-spectrum CBD is CBD that's been totally stripped of THC using additional processes. The product will still contain CBD and terpenes. Isolate just means that the product underwent a process to rid it of everything except the CBD.

  • Check the other ingredients
  • Check the manufacturer or distributor's name
  • Check the suggested use and the batch number or date code.

Keep in mind that different types of products (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate) can have different effects when consumed. The CBD isolate products especially don't contain terpenes and thus will not have the entourage effects of other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Final thoughts

CBD is derived from cannabis plants. It is an extremely useful compound that offers pain relief and can be used in the treatment of inflammation and digestive issues. It also helps to combat psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and seizures.

Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal and readily available in Virginia. The state government still has restrictions against marijuana even for medical purposes. Industrial hemp needs to contain at most 0.3% THC by weight to be considered legal.

Currently, only registered Growers, Dealers, and Processors are allowed to grow, deal, and process industrial hemp in Virginia. You would have to submit an application to become one. The registration is valid for one year and thus you will have to renew it annually for a fee of $50.

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