Virginia Recreational Cannabis – Pending Legislation

Virginia Recreational Cannabis – Pending Legislation


The Virginia House of Delegates approved legislation on February 9, via a voice vote, to create the framework needed for an adult-use cannabis marketplace. The bill would enable sales to commence on January 1, 2025. The House delegates passed House Bill 698 with a 52-48 vote on February 12, sending it to the Senate for consideration. H.B. 698 would permit 60 microbusinesses to cultivate adult-use cannabis starting July 1, 2024, ahead of sales launch. To qualify for a microbusiness license, the company must be 66% owned and controlled by someone who meets the state’s social equity criteria. The existing medical licensees must pay a one-time fee of $2.4 million to transition to the adult-use marketplace. Six months after the initial sales launch, additional businesses will be permitted to enter the retail market, explained bill sponsor Del. Paul Krizek, D-Fairfax, during his speech in the House.
Although H.B. 698 was passed by the House, a rival bill called Senate Bill 448 was also approved by the Finance and Appropriations Committee with a 9-5 vote on February 8th. Virginia’s Senate signed off on the proposal to legalize retail marijuana sales. S.B. 448, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Rouse, D-Virginia Beach, also aims to establish a commercialized adult-use marketplace that follows the same timeline as H.B. 698 for sales launch. However, the Senate version does not include provisions for microbusinesses or special licensing considerations for companies or individuals, among other differences. In 2025, retailers will open later following a standard application and licensing process. “In this bill, no one applicant is preferred over another,” Rouse said on the Senate floor. “There are no head starts.”
The two bills need to be reconciled before sending legislation to the Governor.


Virginia Recreational Cannabis Overview

In April 2021, Virginia enacted legislation that legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. The bill HB 2312 was approved by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by governor Ralph Northam in 2021 making it the first southern state to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, led by a board of five directors, has the job of creating rules, granting licenses, and supervising the growth, production, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products in stores.

There will be a maximum limit on the number of license holders. However, it’s important to note that these restrictions won’t apply to current medical cannabis enterprises and hemp processors.

The law establishes four types of licensed businesses:

  • Retailer – 400 licenses available
  • Transporter – 50 licenses available
  • Cultivator – 450 licenses available
  • Processor – 60 licenses available

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority will establish a criterion to evaluate new licensees based on the density of retail marijuana stores in the community and metrics that have similarly shown an association with negative community-level health outcomes or health disparities.




Want to learn more?

Visit our state page and schedule a consultation today, or download our Webinar!

Contact us by phone at 602-290-9424 or via email at for more information on how to get started.




Better growth and a clear plan forward is what your business needs. Reach out to us to book a consultation or get your action plan