Getting a Medical Card in Virginia

Updated on November 19, 2021.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Getting a Medical Marijuana Prescription in VA

Have you been thinking about getting your Virginia medical card? Whether you are coping with chronic pain, or other medical conditions, it is an option for patients to explore. And getting your medical card in Virginia is easier than you think, if you have one of the qualifying health conditions. 

Medical Marijuana in Virginia (2021 Update)

Did you know that in 2021, Virginia became the first southern state to legalize recreational (adult-use) cannabis? Effective July 1, 2021, recreational or adult-use cannabis became legalized for adults aged twenty-one (21) and older. 

Since then, recreational dispensaries have opened up. And patients with a medical card always have the option to purchase cannabis at a medical or adult-use dispensary.

Patients who use medical marijuna get valuable services from a medical dispensary. The staff and budtenders at medical cannabis dispensaries are very knowledgeable about strains for specific health conditions. And the dispensaries for medical use provide a clinical experience that many patients prefer.

Why get your Virginia medical card? Aside from expert advice at the dispensary, patients pay no tax on medical marijuana products. Unlike residents who do not have a medical card. Recreational users must pay a 21% sales tax on all purchases. 

Some municipalities can also charge an additional 3% tax, for a total of up to 24% sales tax on recreational cannabis products. Having a medical card in Virginia can save you a lot of money.

FAQs

Who qualifies for medical marijuana in Virginia?

Patients who are over the age of eighteen years can qualify for a medical card. However, residents must be twenty-one years or older to purchase adult-use (recreational) cannabis in Virginia. 

The state of VA mandates the following qualifying health conditions. You must have a formal diagnosis from a physician in your medical records for one of the following chronic diseases or debilitating symptoms.

In Virginia, the qualifying health conditions to get a medical card are:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Clinical Anxiety (Moderate to Severe)
  • Autism (Agitation of Autism Moderate to Severe)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Chronic Pain
  • Epilepsy and Similar Seizure Disorders 
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

In Virginia, doctors can also use their discretion to refer a patient to the medical cannabis program. Even if the patient does not have one of the listed qualifying health conditions.

Before you schedule your health evaluation for your medical card, make sure that you have a formal diagnosis of one or more than one qualifying health condition. And if your diagnosis occurred more than a year ago, have your primary care physician update your diagnosis on your medical file. This can help make sure your medical card application is not delayed.

What Medical Marijuanas are Available in Virginia?

Because Virginia has also legalized adult-use of cannabis, all products are currently available to patients with a medical card. Remember, as a patient you can purchase at a recreational or medical dispensary. And pay 0% tax on your cannabis products for medicinal use.

Dispensaries in Virginia provide the following cannabis products:

  • Smokable whole-flower
  • Pre-rolls
  • Edibles
  • Concentrated extracts
  • Tinctures
  • Vapes
  • Topical creams, ointments or gels

Delivery of medical cannabis products is also currently legal in Virginia. Ask your dispensary for more information about home delivery, or curbside pickup.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Virginia Medical Card?

To apply for your medical cannabis card, you must be eighteen (18) years of age or older. That also means that patients with a medical card in Virginia can purchase cannabis three years earlier than people who purchase adult-use products. They must be twenty-one (21) or older.

Do I need to create my own MMJ patient profile?

Yes. Once you have successfully completed your Virginia medical card health evaluation, you will get a letter of certification from the physician. The next step is to visit the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to complete your application online.

You will need to provide additional information that must be scanned and attached to the initial patient application. That documentation will include the following:

  • Letter of written certification by a state registered practitioner
  • Proof of residency in the state of Virginia
  • Copy of government-issued photo identification
  • Birth certificate or other proof of age
  • Proof of parental responsibility or legal guardianship (if registering a minor or incapacitated adult in your care)

A valid (not expired) Virginia driver’s license meets for proof of identity, state residency, requirements and age. 

The cost of registering as a patient in the Virginia medical cannabis program is $50. There is a requirement to renew your Virginia medical card every year, which is also $50, payable to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy. 

Can I register my child for medical marijuana?

Yes. Virginia has special accommodations for minors. The legal parent or guardian can register a child with a qualifying health condition. Once the child has been successfully registered with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, a caregiver (guardian) must also be registered to assist the child. 

The fee for registering a child for the Virginia medical cannabis program is $50 per year. To register a caregiver, or legal parent and guardian, the fee is $25 per year. There is a $25 annual renewal fee for caregivers in Virginia. 

How can I become a caregiver for MMJ in VA?

Any parent or guardian who will be assisting the minor (child) with medical cannabis must be registered with the state of Virginia as a caregiver. This allows the guardian legal protections and the right to consult for advice and purchase medical marijuana products. And administer them to the minor.

To qualify and register as a caregiver for the Virginia medical cannabis program, an adult or guardian must:

  • Live at the same address as the patient
  • Submit a patient registration application
  • Submit a parent or guardian application to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy

The initial application for the caregiver is made online through the patient web portal. Both patients and caregivers are required to renew their medical cards annually to remain in the program.

How do I renew my Virginia medical card?

The first step to renewing your Virginia medical card is to complete a physician health evaluation. Many patients return to the same doctor or practitioner every year, because the physician has knowledge of the patient’s health conditions. And maintains records to make the renewal process easier.

Once you have received your recertification letter from the physician, you can complete the renewal process online. Log back into the patient portal with your username and password, and pay a $25 renewal fee after uploading your letter of recertification from the physician.

What if I lose my medical card in Virginia?

If you lose or damage your Virginia medical marijuana card, you can request a replacement card through the Board of Pharmacy patient portal. There is a $25 fee to replace it, and it can take up to thirty (30) days for it to be mailed to you. 

Since you need to present your card and state-issued photo identification to purchase cannabis, that means you may not be able to visit a dispensary for over a month. Keep your card safe.

Where do you get medical marijuana in VA?

Virginia has medical cannabis dispensaries for patients. Residents with a medical cannabis card can also visit and purchase products from an adult-use dispensary. 

In Virginia, patients that have a medical marijuana card do not pay taxes on cannabis purchases. No matter what kind of licensed dispensary they decided to purchase from. Make sure to present your medical card to save up to 24% tax on each purchase.

When did medical marijuana in Virginia become legal?

Medical cannabis became legalized in Virginia on March 16, 2017. At that time, the first comprehensive medical cannabis laws were enacted., However, only intractable epilepsy were permitted to use clinical grade CBD or HC-A oil in a doctor-supervised treatment plan for symptoms. 

The History of Medical Marijuana in Virginia

Virginia went from being one of the most strict medical cannabis programs in the United States, to the first Southern jurisdiction to legalize adult-use (recreational) for residents. Here are some of the historical benchmarks on the path to legalizing and expanding medical cannabis patient care in Virginia:

March, 2018—The medical cannabis law in Virginia was viewed to be too restrictive, and did not meet the needs of other patients with chronic diseases and debilitating symptoms. Only one year after legalization, Virginia expanded the program (HB 1251) to include other qualifying health conditions for compassionate care.

Source Web 2021: mpp.org

May 2020— Virginia Governor Northam signed two important bills that went into effect on May 21, 2020. Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972 decriminalized simple (or personal use) cannabis possession to a civil penalty and not a criminal charge. 

Individuals found possessing small amounts of cannabis would face a fine of no more than $25 after the new legislation was passed. A very big change compared to the previous penalty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor offense, with a $500 fine and up to thirty (30) days in jail. 

Source Web 2021: lis.virginia.gov

July, 2021—Legalization of adult-use (recreational) cannabis is enacted. Limitations for recreational use are also provided, allowing for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. However, more than 1 lb. of cannabis remains a felony offense in Virginia. 

Adult-sharing is permitted, or gifting cannabis as long as no payment is received. Adults aged twenty-one and older may grow up to four marijuana plants per household. The plants must be secured, and not accessible to minors, or visible to the public. Each home-grown plant must have a tag affixed that includes the owner’s name, and driver’s license number, or another identification number.

Source Web 2021: lis.virginia.gov

 

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Virginia Board of Pharmacy
9960 Mayland Dr #300
Richmond, VA 23233
Phone: (804) 367-4456
E-Mail: pharmbd@dhp.virginia.gov
Contact FormVirginia Medical Marijuana Program
Website: Virginia CBD & THC-A Program Website

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