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How To Get the New Medical Marijuana Card in Virginia and What is the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority? - 2024 Update

Happy New Year everyone! Now that 2024 is here, we have a new way of obtaining Medical Marijuana Cards and a new agency in charge of the whole thing. The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority has taken over responsibility for all things Cannabis in Virginia.

The new process to get a Medical Marijuana Card now requires that providers login to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority website and input your basic demographic information. After your information is submitted, the state emails you a password and link that takes you to their website. You then use the password to gain access to your new certificate. The new format for the card/certificate is much more simple than before. It has a state seal, a giant barcode, your barcode number, then your name and address and my name and license number. When you take it to the dispensary, they scan the barcode to confirm your certification.

Don't worry, everyone who got certified before January 1st, gets to use the old certificate until it expires. You won't need to use the barcode version until it's time to renew. If you want it anyway, just let me know.

Here's what it looks like (I made the fake barcode myself!)

The good things about this new system:

  • The card/certificate is now state-issued and has a license number on it. This means there isn't much need anymore to pay for the Registration Card from the Board of Pharmacy.

  • The barcode is big enough to scan from your phone.

  • The barcode is also big enough that you can shrink it and print it out into a wallet-sized card. Laminate it and you're all set.

  • This should allow dispensaries to speed up their intake process.

  • It prevents forgery (because your barcode has to match the state registry).

The negatives:

  • It's a little more laborious for providers to certify patients.

  • You lose some privacy - In the old system, the state did not know that you had the card/certificate until you actually purchased cannabis. After you made a purchase, you were passively registered with the state. Now your certification will be documented regardless of whether or not you purchase anything. Who has access to this information doesn't change much. It includes the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, the DEA (if they investigate you), and I imagine the Board of Pharmacy might still have access too. Your employer and other government agencies still do not have access. Your doctor/PA/NP and your pharmacists will continue to not know you have the certificate unless you purchase something at a dispensary (you should still tell your providers about your use).

When you get certified (or renewed) you'll get complete instructions on how this works. You can also access the instructions on the Member's Page.

I hope 2024 brings you an abundance of all that you value!

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