Demystifying VA’s cannabis laws, licensing requirements and start-up costs.

Fun fact: Virginia was the first state to explore the economic and social benefits of cannabis! Now that it’s federally legal, there’s been an influx of employment opportunities, especially with the creation of a large processing facility. And not to mention, an emergence of new CBD businesses.

how to start a cbd business in va

Looking to launch your own CBD business in Virginia? Here’s an overview of the basics, including CBD laws, licensing, and the estimated cost of starting a CBD business. 

CBD laws in Virginia

Like Florida (LINK TO FLORIDA POST) and many other states, Virginia follows the federal guidelines set out in the Farm Bill of 2018; it’s legal to sell CBD products, so long as they don’t surpass the 0.3% THC threshold. 

More specifically, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS)—the state agency responsible for the regulation of hemp production—allows products such as oils, tinctures and gummies. However, Virginia law prohibits the sale of smokable products to anyone under the age of 21, as well as CBD for animal consumption.

It’s also important to note that only registered growers and processors are permitted to handle hemp. 

Do I need a license to sell CBD in Virginia? 

According to the Dealer Registration Code for Industrial Hemp, retailers aren’t required to obtain cannabis-specific licenses or permits if they’re selling CBD products that don’t surpass the 0.3% THC limit. Besides your standard business credentials, additional documentation isn’t needed. 

But, if you plan on producing your own hemp…well, that’s a different story! Virginia’s hemp regulations specify that growers, handlers and processors must secure registration from the VDACS. Not only is the application process extensive, you’ll also have to acquire a farm number from the USDA Farm Service Agency—plus, sample and test each industrial hemp lot 30 days before harvest. Learn more here

The cost of running a CBD business in Virginia

If you’ve decided the retail route is the way to go, your costs may be fairly reasonable. It’s been estimated that an initial investment can fall anywhere between $23,550 to $71,700 (LINK TO FLORIDA POST). Typical expenses for a brick and mortar shop include inventory, rent, marketing, staffing, and legal. Pro tip: Focusing on e-commerce is a great option if you’d like to keep start-up costs to a minimum. 

If venturing into processing and cultivation, there are heftier costs to consider. While registration fees aren’t astronomical—for example, the Industrial Hemp Grower Registration will only set you back $150—there’s also machinery, irrigation, drying systems, land rent, transplants, soil tests and much, much more

The future of cannabis in Virginia

Starting a CBD business in Virginia is doable if you’ve assembled a realistic, compliant and thoughtful strategy! And beyond hemp CBD, retail sales of recreational marijuana with higher levels of THC may potentially be in the cards—this means there might be even more business opportunities down the line. 

Before diving into anything, consider joining oHHo’s Community Builder collective for a taste of what it’s like to run your own CBD business, and earn cash and rewards! Learn more here