Given its conservative history, people might not assume Virginia is a cannabis-friendly state. And that’s a fair assumption. The state has heavy penalties for marijuana possession and rejected a recent Bill that would decriminalize this plant.
However, it does have a medical cannabis program in place that, albeit limited, does exist. So, that is a step in a positive direction.
Also, the state of Virginia has a pretty good relationship with hemp, starting with its decision to support the Industrial Hemp Research Program back in 2015.
From 2015 to 2018 the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (VDACS) partnered with four major universities in the state to conduct research on industrial hemp.
As you can see, forward progress is happening. We’ll discuss the history of hemp in Virginia, both from the research and agricultural perspectives. Also, we’ll talk about hemp flower in Virginia and whether hemp flower buds are legal.
Finally, we’ll address the legalities of buying and smoking hemp flower in this state. If Virginia is your home state, or you plan on moving there soon, this article’s for you.
Industrial Hemp Research Program in Virginia
Under the 2014 Hemp Farm Bill passed under the Obama administration, Universities in the U.S. had the ‘green light’ to research industrial hemp for academic purposes. This was the first time in many, many decades that hemp was replanted in American soil.
Several years later, the 2018 (updated) Farm Bill went into effect. Under this Bill, it became legal to grow industrial hemp in the United States. This included each and every state in the nation. However, there were a few important specifications made.
First, the definition of hemp, according to this Bill said that industrial hemp could not contain more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. Although THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a psychoactive compound is not abundant in the hemp plant, the government did decide to restrict its content.
Secondly, under this Bill, each state interested in growing hemp would have to outline a specific Hemp Program to be approved and signed off by the USDA. This is where Virginia stands today.
Growing Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity
On January 15, 2020, the VDACS submitted the Virginia Industrial Hemp Program Plan to the USDA. About a month later, they received comments and feedback. In other words, the USDA requested certain revisions be made before approving the VDACS’s plan.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is making the requested changes and believes its updated, final plan will get approved around October 31, 2020. Until then, the organization will operate under the 2014 Hemp Bill Program just as they did during the 2019 growing season.
Those interested in growing, processing, or dealing industrial hemp can apply for a license to do so.
Is It Legal To Buy Hemp Flower in Virginia?
Yes. You can buy hemp flower if you live in Virginia as long as you buy CBD flower strains with less than 0.3% THC. To find out what the percentage of THC is, you can look at a copy of the Certificate of Analysis (COA).
This is a report issued by third-party labs that test the cannabinoid profile (i.e. CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, etc) of the hemp flower. In fact, this is a report you can look for regardless of the hemp-derived CBD product you’re interested in. It’s a standard report and all reputable companies have the cannabinoid potencies tested.
Can I Grow My Own Hemp Flower, or Do I Have To Buy It?
Only people with a license to grow hemp in Virginia are able to. This law is meant to prevent home garden grows that would have little to no regulation or testing of THC levels. Since the medical marijuana program doesn't permit qualified patients to grow plants at home (unlike many other states in the U.S.), they won’t make the exception for hemp either.
A lot of this decision has to do with the similar physical characteristics of hemp and marijuana. Both belong to the Cannabis sativa L. family and both look and smell very similar, close to identical in fact.
So, to answer your question, no you can’t grow hemp plants at home, but you can buy them online.
Is It Legal To Buy Hemp Flower Online?
Yes, it’s legal for anyone in the United States to buy hemp flower online due to the 2018 Farm Bill. But again, it’s only legal when you buy hemp flower CBD buds with less than 0.3% THC.
Other than that, it’s up to you to find a high-quality product and brand you trust to supply a product worth smoking or consuming. This is where online reviews come in handy. You can read what customers have to say about the product, learn where the company sources its hemp flower, how it’s grown, and what tests it performs.
Although the cannabinoid analysis test is very important, other tests like the terpene, pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, mycotoxins, and microbial contaminant tests are just as important.
This complete panel of testing determines whether a hemp flower strain is organic or not. And whether you’re buying premium hemp flower or regular everyday hemp flower.
Questions To Ask Before You Buy
Besides looking for organic CBD nugs online, it’s also worth looking into the source of the hemp flower. Was it grown on by licensed and certified hemp farmers in the United States? Or was it imported overseas, where the growing regulations could be unknown or unclear?
These are important and worthwhile questions to ask. Because whether you plan to buy hemp flower buds online to smoke or to bake edibles with, the source will always affect the quality. And what's the point of buying hemp flower at all, if it’s mediocre.
To get the full experience that smoking hemp flower buds can offer, it’s worth paying a little more for the cream-of-the-crop CBD nugs.
Is Smoking Hemp Flower Legal in Virginia?
You can smoke hemp flower, but not in public. That is a big no, no. As we mentioned earlier in the article, hemp flower smells like another cannabis plant (marijuana). Also, if you smoke the dry herb from a bong, bibe, or vaporizer, that can draw some serious attention. Many people will assume you’re smoking the illegal substance.
And this is also true for patients with medical marijuana cards. They can’t light up their joint in public either. One day this may change if recreational cannabis laws pass or a THC testing tool or device gets created.
Until this day comes, it’s okay to smoke your CBD buds, but do so with extreme discretion. But, if it’s hard for you to maintain a low profile when smoking because you live in an urban area with little privacy, you can consume your hemp flower in an edible format. Let’s talk about that now.
Smoking Hemp Flower vs. Consuming CBD Edibles?
When you smoke CBD flower from your vaporizer, bong, or joint, the effects reach your bloodstream almost immediately. And this has everything to do with the method of inhalation.
Instant relief, as some people put it, is the reason smoking is the most common form of consumption. Those wanting to feel the effects of CBD “now” choose to smoke.
However, there are many consumers who prefer long-lasting, steady effects and that’s where CBD edibles come in. But, there’s just one problem. Many edibles on the market don’t contain healthy ingredients. And oftentimes sugar is the primary ingredient.
This is why making CBD edibles at home with hemp flower is becoming increasingly popular, plus it’s easy to do. You start by choosing your favorite strain of hemp flower and favorite seed oil or brand of butter. Now, you’re all set to make your infusion.
After making your CBD butter or CBD oil, you can make your edible recipe. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The good news is that the majority of recipes require oil or butter. So, the options are plentiful.
To grow hemp in Virginia, you need to apply for a license with the VDACS. But, to buy and consume hemp flower in Virginia, you only need to be 18 years or older. It’s well-advised to remain discreet during your smoking session but other than that it’s legal to buy CBD flower online.