RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginians who want a medical marijuana license won’t need to register with the state starting in July, but there will still be steps they have to take.
A bill signed into law by Gov. Glenn Youngkin will lift Virginia’s requirement for patients to register with the state’s Board of Pharmacy for a license. People will still need approval from one of the nearly 750 medical cannabis practitioners registered in the state, the first step in the current process.
The change, which will take effect in July, will allow medical cannabis patients to buy marijuana products from dispensaries after receiving a certificate from a registered practitioner.
On top of letting them avoid waiting for a license from the board, a process that can take months, the law will also allow patients to not have to pay a $50 application fee.
Data from Virginia’s Board of Pharmacy shows nearly 47,000 total registered patients and thousands of pending applications, a backlog that has forced the board to hire new workers.
The board will have to maintain a database of the certified patients in Virginia with the number of new licenses granted each month, information that pharmaceutical processors and cannabis dispensing facilities must share under the law.
When Virginia legalized recreational marijuana last year without a regulatory system in place, the commonwealth’s medical cannabis program became the only legal market for people. The dispensaries in Virginia could initially only sell cannabis oils, but they were eventually permitted to sell edibles, flower and other products.