Knowledge about the treatment value of cannabis has grown over the last few decades as more and more states have legalized medical marijuana. Patients with certain chronic and debilitating conditions can choose cannabis to mitigate their symptoms.
Medical marijuana is appropriate for individuals whose illnesses or diseases persist despite the use of conventional treatments. Cannabis often significantly improves the quality of patients’ lives and their ability to perform daily activities.
Virginia lawmakers initiated medical marijuana sales on July 1, 2020. There are four dispensaries throughout the state at which patients can purchase marijuana. Those with qualifying conditions must first apply for and secure a card to purchase and possess marijuana.
The commonwealth administers its medical marijuana program through the Virginia Board of Pharmacy (BOP). If you believe you or someone under your care could benefit from cannabis, schedule an appointment with a registered practitioner.
Obtaining a card is relatively easy if marijuana is recommended for your treatment. Learning about the process and relevant guidelines will help you complete the application quickly and begin treatment soon.
Once you decide medical marijuana may be right for you, book an appointment with a practitioner. Only providers registered with the BOP can provide this certification to obtain cannabis. A list of registered providers is available on the BOP website.
Review any questions you have before your appointment. You should ask your provider about marijuana’s suitability for managing your condition, its potential side effects, and what to expect from this treatment.
The provider will confirm that your condition qualifies you for treatment with medical marijuana, then they will issue a written certification. If you care for a minor or incapacitated adult, the medical marijuana doctor will issue a written certification for the patient and each adult who acts as their caretaker.
The written certification from the provider allows you to enroll in the BOP’s registry. Medical marijuana patients must apply through the BOP licensing website. Once you set up a user account, you can complete a guided online application.
The patient and any qualified caregivers must each apply for the registry. They also need to email supporting documentation confirming their identities and residencies to the BOP. Initial applications for medical cannabis patients are processed within 30 days.
The BOP will contact you via email if they require additional information. Your marijuana card will be mailed to the address you provide during the application process.
Every application for the BOP registry requires written certification from a provider registered to recommend cannabis. The application process is completed online.
Remember, patients and guardians must each complete the application and verification process.
Qualifying patients must scan and email or mail copies of the following medical record and documents to the BOP to supplement their Virginia marijuana card application:
Note that a valid Virginia driver’s license serves as proof of age, identity, and Virginia residency.
Virginia opened its first dispensaries in the fall of 2020. Back then, they only sold cannabis in non-herbal formulations like oils and tinctures. In July of 2021, the commonwealth expanded the law and began selling botanical cannabis for medical use.
As part of the legislation that took effect in July of 2021, Virginia legalized recreational marijuana use. It will not be available for purchase at dispensaries until 2023.
Currently, Virginians with a marijuana card can obtain and possess up to four ounces of botanical cannabis for up to 30 days at a time.
Virginia allows possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults over 21 years old. Marijuana can only be consumed in private residences.
Adults over 21 can cultivate up to four plants per household. This means four plants per location, not four plants per resident of that location. Virginia also allows adults to share up to one ounce in a private residence as long as there is no payment exchanged between the two parties.
Though it’s not FDA-approved as a treatment for any medical conditions, there exists a lot of research attesting to the medicinal value of cannabis. Furthermore, medical marijuana has been legal in different states for over a decade.
The research and anecdotal evidence for marijuana’s effectiveness is only continuing to expand. THC is a proven pain reliever, appetite stimulant, and mood regulator, and medical cannabis is a valuable alternative therapy for chronic conditions that resist traditional medical intervention.
There are currently four cannabis dispensaries located throughout Virginia. They area all government-regulated and staffed by trained professionals. A medical cannabis card grants you access to varying strains and potencies of marijuana.
Dispensaries are a valuable resource for anyone trying to decide which type of medical marijuana will treat their condition(s) most effectively.
Virginia oversees medical marijuana from its cultivation to its packaging to its distribution. There is a solid governmental framework in place to monitor the quality and safety of the marijuana available for purchase at dispensaries.
Today, the only way to legally possess, consume, and transport more than one ounce of marijuana is with a valid Virginia medical marijuana card.
All forms of marijuana remain federally prohibited. However, some states offer reciprocity, meaning they accept other states’ medical marijuana cards. As long as you comply with each state’s regulations, you can legally obtain medical marijuana products.
Remember: even as a registered patient, you cannot legally cross state lines with marijuana despite Virginia’s legalization of it. Always make sure you verify the laws of the states to which you’re traveling before you hit the road.
Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington D.C. will accept a Virginia MMJ card.
Any Virginian with a qualifying condition can manage it with medical marijuana. The commonwealth offers an easily accessible and straightforward process for potential patients to register and obtain a card through the state medical cannabis program.
Patients and their registered caregivers can legally possess marijuana purchased from a licensed state dispensary. Medical cannabis products can be life-enhancing therapies for many individuals who have reached a point in their illness where conventional healthcare treatments are ineffective.