Medical marijuana dispensaries get permission from General Assembly to sell un-processed flower

In this Aug. 21, 2019 photo, an industrial hemp plant is shown in Clayton Township, Mich. The...
In this Aug. 21, 2019 photo, an industrial hemp plant is shown in Clayton Township, Mich. The legalization of industrial hemp is spurring U.S. farmers into unfamiliar terrain, tempting them with profits amid turmoil in agriculture while proving to be a tricky endeavor in the early stages. Up for grabs is a lucrative market, one that could grow more than five-fold globally by 2025, driven by demand for cannabidiol. The compound does not cause a high like that of marijuana and is hyped as a health product to reduce anxiety, treat pain and promote sleep. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(Paul Sancya | AP)
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 4:54 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Medical cannabis producers in Virginia will be allowed to sell the plant’s unprocessed flower for the first time under legislation that’s quietly made its way through the General Assembly with broad, bipartisan support.

The industry and its supporters in the legislature pitched the move as an effort to make the products more affordable to patients than the highly processed oils, tinctures and edibles that producers are currently permitted to sell.

“Botanical cannabis remains the most popular formulation among consumers and among older consumers in particular,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform Marijuana Laws.

“Limiting patients’ options to extracted oral formulations is not in their best interests. Botanical cannabis contains more than 100 distinct cannabinoids, many of which act synergistically with one another, producing an effect many scientists believe is necessary in order for patients to achieve maximum therapeutic benefit.”

Virginia’s medical marijuana program began when the legislature was still under Republican control with assurances that it would only permit the sale of non-intoxicating preparations of the drug, with a focus on treating children who suffer from epilepsy.

In the years since, it’s been steadily expanded to allow the sale of a range of high-THC products, from vape cartridges to suppositories. The new allowance to sell marijuana in its raw, smokable form would bring Virginia in line with 32 of the 36 other states with medical marijuana programs, according to the legislation’s supporters.


The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

Submit a news tip.