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CBD and Hemp Legality in Virginia: Cannabis & Hemp Laws Update 2021

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2021 Update

No updates have been made to  hemp- CBD laws in Virginia.

In April 2021, Virginia became the 16th state to legalize adult use of cannabis. Possession of up to an ounce is legal; retail sales won’t begin before 2024.

In addition to the federal hemp laws laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill, each state has its own state hemp laws. Before we dive in on Virginia Hemp Laws and the legality of CBD in Virginia, it is important to understand the different types of hemp and CBD products that these laws may be applied to.

There are many (somewhat confusing) terms for hemp oil:

FAQ: Hemp and CBD Legality in Virginia

Is Full Spectrum CBD Legal in Virginia?

That is a trick question because full-spectrum CBD is not the same as the so-called PCR Hemp Oil! This new marketing term is certainly introducing even more confusion around CBD products.

CBD is legal in Virginia, but only CBD hemp products can be bought and sold without restriction:

Marijuana-derived CBD oil may only be possessed in Virginia, under the protection of an affirmative defense, through the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program. Hemp-derived CBD oil may be manufactured, sold, purchased, and consumed without restriction in the Commonwealth.

Issue Brief: The Legality and Availability of CBD Oil in Virginia. Virginia Division of Legislative Services.

Is It Legal to Ship PCR Hemp Oil to Virginia?

It is legal to ship ALL types of hemp products with less than 0.3% THC to all US States according to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Where to Buy Full Spectrum CBD Oil in Virginia?

To buy CBD in Virginia you may go to a CBD store or order from and online retailer.

Do you need a special license to purchase PCR Hemp Oil in Virginia?

You don’t need a special license to purchase CBD hemp oil (all types) in Virginia, only to grow, test, or sell products. You do need special licensing if you are looking for marijuana-derived CBD products that are not available for retail purchase.

How Does Virginia Legally Define Hemp?

Hemp and marijuana are two different species within the cannabis family of plants. Both hemp and marijuana plants contain CBD, which can be extracted to manufacture CBD oil products. The important distinction between hemp and marijuana is the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, found in the plants. THC is responsible for the majority of marijuana’s psychological effects. The THC levels in marijuana plants often exceed 15 percent, while hemp plants usually contain less than 0.3 percent THC. The negligible level of THC found in hemp plants is not enough to create a psychoactive effect on users.

Issue Brief: The Legality and Availability of CBD Oil in Virginia. Virginia Division of Legislative Services.

Growing and Selling Hemp in Virginia

Virginia hemp growers and handlers must be registered and licensed with the state. The state of Virginia has submitted its new hemp farming plan to the USDA for approval. It is expected that Virginia hemp laws for hemp farming will be updated by the end of 2020.

Virginia is currently allowing hemp production under previous regulations. Hemp processors and hemp brokers (dealers) must also be registered with the Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Retail Hemp and CBD products must comply with Virginia hemp laws which include food safety regulations for some products and other explicit GMP requirements:

In addition to Virginia state CBD laws and the 2018 Farm Bill hemp laws, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has additional requirements for CBD and hemp companies to meet.

Virginia Hemp Testing

Some states are still debating how THC in hemp should be measured when it is tested. Virginia has very detailed instructions and requirements that include “total THC” testing.

All hemp needs to have less than 0.3% delta-9-THC, but some states consider the potential THC additionally. Such is the case in Virginia where both delta-9-THC and delta-9-THCA must be taken together for fall under the 0.3% limit.

State shall have a procedure for testing that is able to accurately identify whether the sample contains a delta-9 THC concentration that exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level. Testing methods must be validated and use postdecarboxylation or other similarly reliable method; must consider the potential conversion of delta-9 THCA into THC and the test result measures the total available THC (THC + THCA); and must determine total THC concentration on a dry weight basis.

Virginia’s Plan to Regulate Hemp Production 

This makes Virginia a very difficult state for growing smokable hemp which often contains amounts of THCA that exceed that limit when combined with THC.

All hemp consumers are responsible for knowing how their state interperts the 0.3% THC limit, so it is important to understand that information before purchasing or you may be considered to be in posession of “marijuana” per the particular state’s definition of hemp!

Virginia Hemp and CBD Products

Virginia state hemp laws allow for many hemp products:

GMP CBD in Virginia

One of the most unique requirements for CBD in Virginia is that their law requires manufacturers to follow GMP standards.

This means that Virginia is taking a step to require manufacturing standards that the FDA has been lagging to roll out. Many believe that eventually all CBD products will be required to comply with GMP (Good Manufacturing Processes) Regulations. This very practical measure means that producers of CBD will be held to the same standards as dietary supplement producers.

Because compliance with GMP is expensive, it is likely to detract from those thinking about starting a CBD product company in Virginia. Of course, these regulations are expected to be applied to the whole country eventually (pending the FDA). However, in the short term, Virginia’s “gold standard” CBD laws may actually discourage businesses from operating in Virginia.

It should also be noted that there is a difference between GMP compliant and GMP certified! For a company to be GMP certified, it must register with the FDA and undergo certification and inspections. Companies claiming to be “GMP compliant” may or may not actually be compliant! Without actual certification, this claim can be very misleading.

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