Now that Cannabis is legal in the state of Virginia, take a moment to educate yourself on the facts surrounding the law, safe storage, the developing brain, and overuse.
Cannabis is Legal - Know the Facts
What is legal?
✓ Possession by adults 21+ of up to one ounce in public
✓ Personal cultivation of up to 4 plants per household by adults 21+ at their primary residence.
Plants must not be visible from a public way
Cultivation is permitted indoors or outdoors, but may be restricted in rental housing
Cultivation is only permitted at the individual's primary residence
✓ Adult-sharing of up to one ounce in private without remuneration (money paid for service)
✓ Continued participation in the medical cannabis program which allows purchase at Virginia dispensaries. Virginia will start taking applications for retail licenses on July 1, 2023, and retail sales can begin on Jan. 1, 2024
What is not legal?
- Public consumption
- Possession or consumption by anyone under 21
- Possession on school grounds or school bus
- Consumption in a motor vehicle while being driven (passenger or driver)
- Open container in a vehicle
- Sharing or offering in public
- Selling or purchasing cannabis outside of the medical program
- Selling or purchasing cannabis seeds or cannabis products
- Gifting schemes (gift with purchase, public giveaway events, paid entry consumption events)
Safely Store Cannabis
In order to prevent injury or inadvertent consumption of Cannabis, it should be treated as any other drug or medicine and kept up high and out of reach of children.
Cannabis and edible products should be kept in their original child-resistant packaging. Furthermore, edible products should not be kept or stored with other non-cannabis food products.
The most common overdose incidents in children occur when the drug has been combined with food in an edible form of cannabis. Cannabis ingested in this manner can have a stronger and prolonged effect, especially in children under the age of 12 years old.
Many young children who consume Cannabis require hospitalization. Symptoms may include:
- Problems walking
- Problems sitting up
- Having a hard time breathing
- Feeling sleepy
If your child has been exposed to Cannabis, call poison control at: 1-800-222-1222 or go to the nearest emergency roomm.
Learn more about safe storage here
Cannabis and the Developing Brain
Did you know?
Despite the fact that Cannabis is legalized in many states, Cannabis still poses many health risks including the risk for addiction. The surgeon general has put out a warning related to Cannabis use – specifically related to the risks of Cannabis use during adolescence. Facts included in the warning are:
- The human brain continues to develop to the mid 20’s and is vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances
- Cannabis changes areas of the brain involved in memory, decision-making, and motivation
- Cannabis impairs learning and has been linked to declines in IQ and school performance
- Cannabis use is linked to increased rates of school absence and drop-out
- Cannabis use is linked to increase in suicide attempts
- Teens ages 12-17 who use marijuana show a 130% greater likelihood of misusing opioids
The CDC also has information and warnings related to the use of Cannabis:
- Research shows that Cannabis use can have permanent effects on the developing brain when use begins in adolescence, especially with regular or heavy use.
- Frequent or long-term Cannabis use is linked to school dropout and lower educational achievement
- The amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Cannabis (i.e., Cannabis potency) has increased over the past few decades. The higher the THC content, the stronger the effects on the brain. In addition, newly popular methods of using Cannabis (e.g., dabbing, edibles) may deliver very high levels of THC to the user.
- Eating foods or drinking beverages that contain Cannabis have some different risks than smoking Cannabis, including a greater risk of poisoning.
- Long-term or frequent Cannabis use has been linked to increased risk of psychosis or schizophrenia in some users.
Recognizing Cannabis Overuse
Any substance use becomes a disorder when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of their life. The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5)” defines cannabis use disorder by nine pathological patterns classified under impaired control, social impairment, risky behavior, or physiological adaptation.
In fact, every type of substance use disorder falls under those very same patterns — whether it’s cannabis, prescription drugs, alcohol, stimulants, or other substances. Just because you’ve heard that cannabis is “less” addictive, doesn’t mean that it’s not addictive.
So what does that disorder look like? Whether you are concerned about your use or that of a loved one, here are some examples of when it’s time to be concerned about a possible disorder:
Am I At Risk For Cannabis Use Disorder?
- Do you use cannabis for a longer period of time than you intended?
- Do you use it in larger amounts than you intended?
- Has your use affected your relationships or responsibilities? For example, are you having difficulty with home, work, or school because of repeated use?
- Have you experienced difficulty paying bills in order to buy cannabis? (This can include delaying bill payment, borrowing money, maxing out credit cards, or tapping out savings accounts.)
- Has a family member, friend, colleague, or supervisor expressed concern because of your use?
- Have you given up social or recreational activities because of cannabis use?
- Have you tried to reduce your use, but had difficulty stopping?
- Do you want to cut down on your use?