Virginia Social Equity Cannabis License

Virginia Social Equity Cannabis License

Virginia Social Equity Cannabis License

On April 7th, 2021, the General Assembly of Virginia passed House Bill 2312, which legalized adult-use marijuana in Virginia.

The bill takes effect on July 1st, 2021. Within the Bill, the Virginia legislators focused on social equity to,  “directly address the impact of economic disinvestment, violence, and historical overuse of criminal justice responses to community and individual needs by providing resources to support local design and control of community-based responses to such impacts.”

Social Equity Cannabis Business License in Virginia

To meet the goal of “addressing the impact of economic disinvestment, violence, and historical overuse of criminal justice responses to community and individual needs”, the legislature created a special license for social equity applicants.

Applicant’s who qualify for a social equity license may be privileged by a preferential process, access to a low-interest business loan program, and reduced fees.

What is a social equity applicant in Virginia?

A “Social Equity Applicant“ means an applicant that is an Virginia resident that meets one of the following criteria:

(i) an applicant with at least 66 percent ownership by a person or persons who have been convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for any misdemeanor violation of certain marijuana specific laws;

(ii) an applicant with at least 66 percent ownership by a person or persons who is the parent, child, sibling, or spouse of a person who has been convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for any misdemeanor violation of those laws relating marijuana;

(iii) an applicant with at least 66 percent ownership by a person or persons who have resided for at least three of the past five years in a jurisdiction that is determined to have been disproportionately policed for marijuana crimes;

(iv) an applicant with at least 66 percent ownership by a person or persons who have resided for at least three of the last five years in a jurisdiction determined to be economically distressed; or

(v) an applicant with at least 66 percent ownership by a person or persons who graduated from a historically black college or university located in the Commonwealth.

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When can you apply for a cannabis business license as a Social Equity applicant in Virginia? 

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority may start accepting applications for licenses on July 1, 2023. From July 1, 2023, until January 1, 2024, the authority will give preference to qualified social equity applicants, as determined by regulations promulgated by the Board of Directors of the Authority in accordance with this act. 

However,  no retail marijuana store licensee may sell retail marijuana, retail marijuana products, immature marijuana plants, or marijuana seeds and no marijuana cultivation facility licensee may sell immature marijuana plants or marijuana seeds to a consumer prior to January 1, 2024. 

What is the Virginia Cannabis Equity Business Loan Fund? 

The Virginia  State Treasury created a special fund for social equity applicants known as the Virginia Cannabis Equity Business Loan Fund, referred to as “the Fund.” Money in the Fund can only be used for the purposes of providing low-interest and zero-interest loans to social equity qualified cannabis licensees in order to foster business ownership and economic growth within communities that have been the most disproportionately impacted by the former prohibition of cannabis. 

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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