Laws and Regulations

Virginia Legislation Halts Governors Attempts to Ban Delta-8

Written by Denise Recalde

A legislative effort to impose strong new limits on the Virginia state cannabis industry fell apart in the last minutes before the vote of the relevant Senate Bill 591, which was actively backed by the state’s Governor. [1]

In the last week of April, Virginia state legislators used a legislative maneuver to shelve a cannabis bill that affects the entire industry, the one they had earlier sent to Governor Glenn Youngkin for approval.

The piece of legislation would have effectively banned the sale of delta-8 THC products by eliminating any product mention of “delta-9”. This simple change would have rendered hemp providers unable to sell certain THC isomers, such as delta-8 THC, straight to consumers, rather than through regular cannabis sales channels.

The governor, through the bill, sought also to restrict both the sale of all kinds of hemp edibles, as well as the sales of smokable hemp to adults over the age of 21.

Conflict arose on the legislative floor when the governor asked legislators to approve further changes to the bill. Youngkin requested a wholesale ban on delta-8 THC and to criminalize the minimum possession of 2 ounces of cannabis by adults.

Local cannabis activist group, Virginia NORML, opposed the proposal for the criminalization of cannabis possession. It repeatedly highlighted that Virginia legalized the use of recreational cannabis in 2021.

Lawmakers were made to reconsider the bill with the new Governor’s requests for change, but ultimately decided to shelve the whole bill through 2023. In the meantime, however, a budget measure set to be discussed on the floor may resurrect certain provisions of the cannabis bill.

Youngkin had earlier signed legislative bills (HB933 and SB 671), as of July 1, 2022, dropping the requirement by  Virginia medical cannabis patients to have an active patient registration granted by the Board of Pharmacy. [2], [3]

Virginia’s commercial cannabis providers can launch sales of their products in 2024. [4]









About the author

Denise Recalde