Is CBD Oil In VA Legal?
Virginia CBD Laws - 2019:
Is CBD oil legal in Virginia in 2019? As is the case in many U.S. states the most honest answer to that question is, “it’s complicated.” Although Virginia has been inching slowly but surely in the direction of legalizing medicinal cannabis including CBD oil, the laws still remain a bit murky.
The confusion stems from two issues in particular. The first issue is that CBD oil can be manufactured from both marijuana and from industrial hemp. Although the state’s laws are pretty clear when it comes to marijuana, things get a little fuzzy in regards to the legality of hemp-derived products.
The second issue is this: Where does a product cross the line between a hemp food product and a medicinal product? Once the line is crossed, can the state prove that it has been crossed, and is it worth expending taxpayer money to enforce the applicable laws. Before we get into the grey areas, let’s look at the facts.
Is CBD Legal In Virginia in 2019?
Virginia CBD Laws
Affirmative Defense Guidelines
Is Hemp CBD Oil in Virginia legal?
How To Buy CBD Oil Online
What Conditions Does CBD Oil Help?
Virginia CBD Laws
In 2015, the Virginia General Assembly created a law which provided residents with what the state called an “affirmative defense” which allows residents to possess cannabis oils for medical purposes.
When the law was first implemented, it applied only to patients with severe epilepsy and only to non-intoxicating oils. Furthermore, the law did not provide for a system of cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of the oils. With nowhere to legally purchase the oils in the state of Virginia, patients run the risk of purchasing their meds illegally.
To solve this problem, in 2016, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to implement a state-regulated system of “pharmaceutical processors” that could produce and sell CBD and THC-A oils to Virginia patients. THC-A is a raw, non-psychoactive form of THC which must be smoked, cooked, or vaporized to cause a high.
In 2018, Virginia lawmakers decided to expand access to cannabis oils by letting doctors rather than lawmakers decide who can use them. The law’s scope was expanded to allow doctors to write patients a recommendation for the use of cannabis oils, on a case-by-case basis, for any medical condition which that doctor feels might be relieved by using cannabinoid-rich oils. These may include anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and much more.
The bill passed the state Senate and House of Delegates unanimously and Governor Ralph Northam, a medical marijuana supporter, signed it into law on March 9.
It’s important to note that smokable forms of marijuana and vaporizing of THC-A oils are still prohibited in the state regardless of whether or not you have a doctor recommendation.
Under the affirmative defense law, patients must register with the state and obtain a doctor’s recommendation in order to purchase or possess cannabis oils. Furthermore, patients must purchase their medicine at a state-sanctioned dispensary for their first transaction, after which they may have it delivered to their place of residence.
Although, as of the time of writing, patients and caregivers can register with the state and enjoy the protections of affirmative defense, cannabis oil dispensaries are not expected to open for business until some time in late 2019. Although transporting cannabis products across state lines is illegal, many patients have been doing so since the original law took effect in 2015.
Under VA’s regulations, only a licensed producer is permitted to grow, extract, dispense, and deliver THC-A and CBD oils. These licensed providers are called “pharmaceutical processors.” The law calls for the licensing of five “pharmaceutical processors,” one per state Health Service Area.
Registration for physicians and patients and caregivers is now open. Advocates expect about 5 percent of the state’s population, or around 423,000 people, will take advantage of the new laws.
Affirmative Defense Guidelines
The approach of creating an affirmative defense measure for the use of cannabis oils is an interesting one. Although the law does not expressly legalize marijuana nor hemp CBD (it is still technically illegal to possess the oils) it does provide, in a sense, a “get out of jail free” card to residents who obtain a medical recommendation and register with the state.
The affirmative defense applies only to CBD oil and THC-A oil. Under current regulations, Virginia defines CBD oil as a processed cannabis extract with at least 15% CBD and no more than 5% THC, or a resin/dilution with at least 5 mg of CBD per milliliter and no more than 5% THC or THC-A. THC-A oil is defined as a processed cannabis extract that contains at least 15% THC-A but no more than 5% THC, or a resin/dilution with at least 5 mg of THC-A per ml but not more than 5% THC.
That said, Virginia licensed producers are allowed to create products with an unlimited amount of THC-A. The interesting thing is that THC-A is easily converted to THC with the application of heat — smoking, vaporizing, cooking, etc. However, under the law, these methods of consumption are prohibited. Get caught vaping your CBD oil, and you risk being charged with possession of hash oil, which, in the state of Virginia, comes with a $2,500 fine, immediate license suspension, and a prison term of between 1 and 10 years.
To be able to take advantage of the affirmative defense law, a patient must be registered with the Board of Pharmacy, carry a certification issued from a board-registered physician and present the certification if questioned by law enforcement.
Here’s a very important point for medical users. If you’re a patient in Virginia, and you’re wondering whether or not you should choose a product containing either CBD or THC-A keep in mind that these products can contain as much as 5% THC by law. Using these products puts you at risk of failing a drug test or being charged with a DWI.
Is Hemp CBD Oil in VA Legal?
At this point, you might be scratching your head and thinking, “Wait. What about hemp CBD oil?” You’ve probably seen neon signs flashing the letters “CBD” in the shop windows, especially in the bigger cities like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Arlington, and Richmond, and you’re wondering, “if CBD is only legal in Virginia with doctor’s recommendation, then how come it’s being sold in gas stations, head shops, and health food boutiques across the state in broad daylight?
Interestingly this same situation where shops are selling CBD oil regardless of state laws is common in all states where CBD oil is prohibited. Why is that? The answer is that hemp CBD oil products fall into that gray area that we mentioned earlier.
So is hemp extract considered a food product? And at what point in the refinement process does hemp extract cross the line and fall under the state’s marijuana laws? Also, what are the laws that apply to the medicinal use of cannabis products?
On one side of the spectrum, we have hemp food products such as hemp seeds and hemp seed oil, which are perfectly legal. On the other side of the spectrum, we have purified CBD which is technically only available by prescription and is not approved as a food additive or dietary supplement. The gray area somewhere in the middle is that the essential extract of hemp flowers in its raw form can be considered a legal hemp food.
Because of this gray area, the burden of proving that the products are illegal can be difficult, and it can take up valuable resources and manpower that might be better spent on more pressing matters of public safety. There have been cases around the country where shops have been raided or CBD oil users have been arrested and prosecuted, but they are few and far between.
What Conditions Do CBD Oils, Gummies and Products Work For?
The most popular reasons that CBD users give for taking the natural supplement are to reduce anxiety and relieve pain. However, CBD oil is currently being used by many as an alternative to prescription medications for a wide array of conditions such as:
Where To Buy CBD Oil Online
- NORML: Virginia CBD-Specific Marijuana Law
- No, Virginia didn’t legalize medical marijuana. But supporters say the state is going ‘surprisingly far’ with cannabis oils
- What’s next for Virginia in new cannabis oil law
- Virginia is creating strict new CBD oil regulations. Why are health food stores and gas stations already selling it?