VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – With Virginia set to begin a new era in marijuana regulation in just over a week, Virginia NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) held an informational gathering Tuesday evening from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Gather 757, 249 Central Park Avenue in Town Center.

The law makes Virginia a trendsetter in the region when it comes to recreational pot, but it has several details you need to know about before you light up.

“This really is a watershed moment for cannabis legalization on the East Coast and opening the doors to the South,” said Virginia NORML executive director Jenn Michelle Pedini.

By next Thursday, you can possess up to an ounce of pot in public, but keep it in your pocket.

“It won’t be legal for adults or anyone else to consume cannabis in public,” Pedini said.

You can’t consume marijuana in a vehicle. You can grow it at home, but you’ll have to find your own seeds.
You won’t be able to buy them for another three years.

“Until the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority is able to license adult-use retailers (expected in July 2024), there will be no legal access to cannabis or cannabis products other than registered patients participating in the state’s medical program,” they said.

The limit on home grown is four plants per household, not per person. The law also calls for growers to tag their plants with their name and other identifying data such as a driver’s license number, but it’s unclear how that will be enforced or by whom.

Virginia’s medical cannabis program, already in place, is expected to expand. One of the authorized dispensaries is Columbia Care in Portsmouth. Virginia NORML says approved patients will soon be able to get more than just the current product mix.

“The medical program will soon get botanical or flower marijuana in addition to the current extracts and oils,” Pedini said.