Virginia Cannabis Market

The cannabis consultants at Point Seven Group are experts in the Virginia cannabis market. We have successfully helped our clients obtain cannabis licenses, design dispensaries, build identifiable cannabis brands, and operate compliant cannabis businesses. Our team of cannabis experts can help you reach your business goals in the Virginia cannabis market!


Virginia's cannabis market is poised for significant change, particularly in its licensing framework, following recent legislative initiatives and a change in the regulatory body. In early 2024, efforts intensified to set up a regulated adult-use cannabis market in the Commonwealth. This push gained momentum as Democrats regained control of the House. Notably, Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, introduced Senate Bill 423 in January, proposing an accelerated timeline for launching adult-use cannabis sales by July 1, 2024, through specific medical cannabis licensees.

Despite this proposed timeline, the current legislative direction indicates a start for adult-use cannabis sales by January 1, 2025. Under this plan, the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority is tasked with issuing a minimum of five adult-use cannabis licenses per each of the 40 senate districts in Virginia, starting July 1, 2025. These licenses will cover cultivators, manufacturers, and wholesalers, with a clear emphasis on fostering microbusinesses and promoting opportunities in historically underrepresented communities. Additionally, S.B. 423 includes authorizations for up to five hemp manufacturers for the adult-use market by January 1, 2025, marking a comprehensive approach for cannabis regulation and market expansion in Virginia.


As of early 2024, the landscape of medical cannabis licensing in Virginia has undergone significant changes, particularly regarding the pharmaceutical processor permits. One notable instance involves the license initially awarded to PharmaCann, which was later acquired by MedMen. MedMen defaulted on this license by failing to become operational within the stipulated one-year timeframe, leading to the revocation of their license by the state.

The situation was further complicated by a legal dispute involving MedMen, which delayed a new application round that was initially announced in 2020/2021. This lawsuit, which lasted for three years, effectively stalled the process of issuing new licenses. With the resolution of the lawsuit and the introduction of a new regulatory body leading the program from January 1, 2024, the previous applications were voided. Consequently, a new application round for this vacant pharmaceutical processor permit has been announced.

This scenario underscores the dynamic and often complex nature of cannabis licensing in Virginia. It highlights the importance for businesses and investors to stay abreast of the latest regulatory changes and legal proceedings that can significantly impact the market. The case of the PharmaCann and MedMen license also illustrates the strict operational requirements imposed by the state and the consequences of non-compliance.

For businesses looking to enter the Virginia medical cannabis market, understanding these complexities and navigating the licensing process will be crucial. The role of experienced consulting firms specializing in cannabis licensing becomes even more significant, as they can provide guidance through the ever-changing regulatory landscape and assist in preparing for application processes in line with the latest requirements and deadlines set by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority.


The proposed framework for licensing emphasizes supporting small-scale entrepreneurs and ensuring equitable access to the cannabis industry. The licensing criteria include provisions for microbusinesses, defined as companies with at least 66% ownership by individuals who have either lived for three of the past five years in a historically disadvantaged community or served in the military. This initiative is aimed at fostering social equity and diversifying participation in the cannabis industry.

In terms of the timeline, the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority is expected to begin licensing additional adult-use retailers from July 1, 2025. The Authority will oversee the intricate process of granting licenses, ensuring compliance with state laws, and maintaining standards for safe and legal cannabis operations.

For businesses interested in the Virginia cannabis market, staying informed about the evolving licensing process and preparing for application requirements will be crucial. Consulting firms specializing in cannabis licensing will play a key role in guiding clients through this process, offering expertise in navigating the legal and regulatory landscape.


After becoming the first Southern state to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2021, Virginia has faced challenges in implementing a regulated commercial market. The initial legalization allowed for possession and cultivation for personal use, but subsequent legislative efforts are required to establish a retail market. Recent advancements in 2024, including the approval of legislation by the Virginia House of Delegates, suggest progress towards this goal​​​​.

Currently, Virginia allows adults to consume, grow, and possess small quantities of cannabis. However, the absence of a legal framework for commercial sales means the purchase of recreational cannabis remains illegal. Looking ahead, the state aims to rectify this by launching a regulated market, with potential economic benefits and a reduction in the illicit market​.


The oversight of Virginia's medical cannabis program has transitioned to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, representing a significant shift in management. This change is expected to enhance the program's efficiency and patient accessibility, ensuring adherence to high safety and quality standards​​.

Virginia is also undergoing changes in healthcare policies that impact medical cannabis patients. These include requirements for insurance carriers to inform policyholders of changes in their healthcare provider network, ensuring patients can make informed healthcare decisions. Such changes are particularly relevant for medical cannabis patients, ensuring continuity of care and protection of patient rights​​.



Up to
in annual cannabis sales by 2026!

The medical cannabis program is expected to create $9-11 million in cannabis sales by the end of 2022, but could potentially grow up to $150 million by the end of 2025 depending on the rollout of adult-use cannabis in Virginia. According to Marijuana Business Daily, the state’s adult-use market is projected to reach $875 million to $1.1 billion by 2026.


Virginia Cannabis Consulting

In the state of Virginia both medical and adult-use cannabis are legal, but only medical marijuana is available to be purchased at a licensed dispensary. Virginia passed one of the nation’s first medical marijuana laws back in 1973, but the law used the terminology ‘prescription”, deterring doctors from prescribing a federally illegal product. 36 years later, In March 2015, Governor McAuliffe signed defense bills to ensure patients using CBD and THC-A oils to treat epilepsy were protected from possession charges. In September 2018, the Virginia State Board of Pharmacy approved the applications for five companies to open medical dispensaries across the Commonwealth. Efforts for further cannabis legislation slowed until 2019 when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced plans for cannabis legalization in the near future. A Cannabis Summit was held in December 2019 to discuss the state’s plans to decriminalize cannabis and pathways toward legalization, including the principle of social equity. In February 2020 decriminalization efforts moved forward when the House of Delegates voted 64-34 in favor of HB 972, which decriminalized personal possession of cannabis. The bill was signed into law in April 2020 by Governor Northam, and took effect July 1, 2020.

Following these developments, Virginia's laws saw further evolution. As of July 1, 2021, under S.B. 1406, adults 21 and over are legally allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and can cultivate up to four plants per household. However, selling or purchasing cannabis outside the state’s medical program remains illegal pending the establishment of a regulated adult-use market. In 2024, the oversight of the medical marijuana program shifted from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, reflecting a commitment to more efficient management and heightened patient safety standards. Furthermore, recent legislative changes have included enhanced employee protections regarding the medicinal use of cannabis oil​​​​​​​​​​.


For those interested in the hemp industry, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) oversees hemp cultivation. Prospective growers need to obtain a VDACS-issued Industrial Hemp Grower Registration, which is essential for legally growing hemp in the state. More information on the hemp program and registration process can be found on the VDACS Hemp Program page.

Virginia Hemp Consulting