Virginia legalizes cannabis this week, but seeds may be hard to come by

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Cannabis will soon be legal to grow in Virginia, but many growers have one question: how will they get their hands on cannabis seeds?

Under Virginia's new cannabis law, residents aged 21 and up, can grow up to four plants per household starting July 1. However, it will still be illegal to buy or sell cannabis seeds in the Commonwealth. It is also a federal crime to transport cannabis or its seeds across state lines. 

Earlier this year, when the Virginia General Assembly amended its cannabis bill to move legalization to July 1, 2021, it did not change the legal framework around the sale of cannabis seeds.

Legal cannabis sales still will not begin until 2024. 

The Virginia Marijuana Growers Forum is a Facebook group with over 9,000 members. 

Forum moderator Eris Casey said many growers in the group are confused by the Commonwealth's approach. 

"As of right now, there's no legal way to obtain seeds from any vendor," they said. "For the most part, the whole thing itself is kind of a gray market thing."

But, Casey said they weren't surprised lawmakers did not legalize the sales of seeds this spring. 

"Most of the people that are handling these issues aren't usually cannabis users," they said. "So, it is a big disconnect. I think it would be smart for us to have someone involved." 

Jenn Michelle Pedini serves as Executive Director of Virginia NORML and the Development Director of NORML.

They said Virginia NORML is committed to addressing the issue. 

"Expediting adult-use retail access is one of Virginia NORML's top priorities for the 2022 General Assembly session." 

For now, Casey said they just hope Virginians do not become discouraged from growing altogether.

"It's definitely a big obstacle for people getting started because that's square one," they said. "You can't grow without a seed."

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