How to Get a Virginia Manufacturing Facility License
When trying to set up a manufacturing facility, any potential operator should consider the licensing process in advance. Knowing how to get a manufacturing facility license should be one of the top priorities for any cannabis entrepreneur in Virginia.
Want to secure a Virginia adult-use marijuana license? Here are the steps.
What is a Virginia Marijuana Manufacturing Facility License?
A marijuana manufacturing facility license is a legal document that authorizes the licensee to:
- Manufacture, label, and package retail marijuana and retail marijuana products;
- Purchase or take possession of retail marijuana from a marijuana cultivation facility or another marijuana manufacturing facility;
- Transfer possession of and sell retail marijuana and retail marijuana products to marijuana wholesalers, retail marijuana stores, or other marijuana manufacturing facilities.
Retail marijuana products shall be prepared on a licensed premises that is used exclusively for the manufacture and preparation of retail marijuana or retail marijuana products and using equipment that is used exclusively for the manufacture and preparation of retail marijuana or retail marijuana products.
All areas within the licensed premises of a marijuana manufacturing facility in which retail marijuana and retail marijuana products are manufactured shall meet all sanitary standards specified in regulations adopted by the Board.
A marijuana manufacturing facility licensee shall track the retail marijuana it uses in its manufacturing processes from the point the retail marijuana is delivered or transferred to the marijuana manufacturing facility by a marijuana wholesaler licensee to the point the retail marijuana or retail marijuana products produced using the retail marijuana are delivered or transferred to another marijuana manufacturing facility, a marijuana testing facility, or a marijuana wholesaler or are disposed of or destroyed.
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How to Apply for a Virginia Manufacturing Facility License
The legislative approval the Senate Bill 1406 and House Bill 2312 made Virginia the first southern state to legalize the possession and use of marijuana by adults.
Although beginning July 1, 2021 adults will be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate up to four cannabis plants per household, the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority will not adopt regulations regarding licensing prior to July 1, 2022, while the licensing process will not be available until July 1, 2024.
In this sense, the information regarding the licensing process contained in SB 1406 and HB 2312 are pretty limited and applicable to all license types.
According to HB 2312 the licensing process starts with filing an application in a form provided by the cannabis authority and a statement in writing by the applicant swearing and affirming that all of the information contained in the application is true.
Take into account that if you are applying for an establishment license that requires an inspection by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, you will need to provide proof of inspection or proof of a pending request for an inspection. You can get a license but you will not be able to sell marijuana products until an inspection is completed.
Every applicant will also need to post a notice of his application on the front door of the building, place, or room proposed to engage in such business:
- The notice will be there for no more than 30 days and not less than 10 days.
- The size and information will be determined by the adult-use marijuana licensing authority
- Any objections have to be submitted to the licensing authority not more than 30 days following initial posting of the notice
The applicant will have to publish a notice at least once a week for two weeks in a newspaper published in or having a general circulation in the county, city, or town where the business will be located.
- The information contained in the notice will be determined by the adult-use marijuana licensing authority.
- Any objections have to be submitted to the licensing authority not later than 30 days from the date of the initial newspaper publication
The adult-use marijuana licensing authority must conduct a background check of each applicant for a license, which includes a criminal history records search, including a fingerprint-based national criminal history records search:
- The board may waive the requirement for a background check if a good cause is shown.
- An applicant cannot be disqualified because of a past conviction for a marijuana-related offense.
- The marijuana licensing authority has to notify the local governing body of each license application, and the local governing bodies must submit objections to the granting of a license within 30 days of the filing of the application
The information regarding the application fees is not available at the moment, the marijuana licensing authority is in charge of establishing the fees. However, HB 2312 provides the following information regarding the licensing fees:
- They require to be paid at the same time the application is filed (except that such fee is waived or discounted for qualified social equity applicants).
- The fee shall be in addition to the actual cost charged to the Department of State Police by the FBI or the Central Criminal Records Exchange for processing any fingerprints for each background check
- The fee shall be in addition to the state license fee and will not be refunded.
The Board has the authority to increase state license fees. The Board shall set the amount of such increases on the basis of the consumer price index and shall not increase fees more than once every three years. Prior to implementing any state license fee increase, the Board shall provide notice to all licensees and the general public of (i) the Board’s intent to impose a fee increase and (ii) the new fee that would be required for any license affected by the Board’s proposed fee increases. Such notice shall be provided on or before November 1 in any year in which the Board has decided to increase state license fees, and such increases shall become effective July 1 of the following year.
Record keeping for Virginia Manufacturing Facility License
Every licensee must file and maintain with the marijuana licensing authority a current, accurate record of the information required for the licensing and notify the licensing authority of any changes to such information in accordance with the regulations
Every application for a license has to be made on a form provided by the licensing authority.
A new Cannabis Control Authority would be created in July 2021 to regulate the adult-use cannabis market. A Board of Directors would issue regulations; grant, suspend, or revoke licenses.
The marijuana licensing authority must establish the number of licensees, the licenses cannot exceed the following numbers:
- Retailers: 400 licenses
- Wholesalers: 25 licenses
- Cultivators: 450 licenses
- Product Manufacturers: 60 licenses
These numbers do not take into consideration existing medical cannabis businesses and hemp processors.
The licensing authority will also establish criteria to evaluate new licensees based on the density of retail stores in the community and to consider any negative public health outcomes in the community.
Vertical integration (owning multiple types of cannabis businesses) would not be allowed except in the case of:
- Existing medical cannabis businesses, all of which are vertically integrated, and hemp processors may be vertically integrated if they: 1) pay a $1 million fee to the Virginia Cannabis Equity Loan Fund and the Virginia Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund; and 2) the business submits a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan to the Cannabis Business Equity and Diversity Support Team and implements it or provides job training services to persons recently incarcerated.
Stores in the state must be geographically dispersed. Their dispersion must be reassessed after every 100 licenses are issued.
Social Equity Applicants
The bill promotes inclusion by prioritizing social equity applicants. The bill defines “social equity applicants” as those having 66% or more owners who:
- Have a prior cannabis conviction
- Have a close relative with a cannabis conviction
- Live either in an area with disproportionate cannabis arrests or that is economically distressed
- Are graduated from a Virginia HBCU
Social equity applicants will be given preference from July 1, 2023 until January 1, 2024. Regulators will also waive a percent of the application fees.
For More Info about a Virginia Manufacturing Facility License
If you want more information regarding what could you do in order to enter the cannabis industry in Virginia, don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you want to be updated on the current state of Cannabis legalization, you should check out our map of marijuana legality by state.
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