In July 2021, Virginia joined the growing number of states that have legalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for adult use. If the General Assembly re-enacts the bill in 2022, it will be legal to sell and purchase cannabis commercially in 2024. Businesses seeking to grow, process, or sell cannabis for adult use in the Commonwealth will need to obtain a license from the newly created Cannabis Control Authority, which should begin accepting applications in 2023. These businesses will also need to meet many other compliance obligations.

At Macaulay Jamerson Satterlund & Sessa, we are leading the way toward opening Virginia’s adult-use cannabis marketplace. With our background in government relations and pharmacy law, and our experience representing businesses participating in Virginia’s medical cannabis marketplace, we have deep knowledge of the issues that entities seeking to establish a cannabis business will face. 

Navigating the Shifting Commercial Cannabis Landscape in Virginia

While Virginia’s Cannabis Control Act legalized the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for adult use, it only laid the bare foundation for what will eventually become Virginia’s commercial cannabis industry. The Cannabis Control Authority is responsible for establishing all pertinent rules and regulations and is already advising businesses and entrepreneurs to expect significant changes and developments before the licensure process is finalized.  

Even so, businesses that wish to establish cannabis businesses in Virginia need to act now. There is a multitude of known requirements that they can prepare for. Our attorneys are actively participating in developing Virginia’s commercial cannabis laws and regulations and helping our clients prepare for short- and long-term legislative and regulatory changes.

Non-Cannabis Licensing and Compliance Matters

Initial licensure will obviously be the key first step for companies seeking to enter the Commonwealth’s commercial cannabis marketplace.  But ongoing legal and regulatory compliance will also be a significant challenge. These compliance issues range from implementing effective human resources and security policies to creating systems for monitoring and auditing finances and inventory. DEA, advertising, privacy, and zoning requirements will also be factors. 

Speak with a Virginia Cannabis Licensing and Compliance Attorney

If you have questions about medical or adult-use cannabis licensing and compliance in Virginia, we encourage you to get in touch with one of our attorneys directly or to email

All services rendered by Macaulay Jamerson Satterlund & Sessa in connection with the operation of a cannabis business are intended to comply with Rule 1.2(c)(3) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.2(c)(3) states that an attorney may “counsel or assist a client regarding conduct expressly permitted by state or other applicable law that conflicts with federal law, provided that the lawyer counsels the client about the potential legal consequence of the client’s proposed course of conduct under applicable federal law.”