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Virginia Legalizes Simple Possession of Adult Use Marijuana

On April 7, 2021, Virginia legislation (HB 2312ER2/SB 1406ER2) was enacted, with the governor’s edits accepted. In relation to the workplace these bills:

  • Legalize the simple possession of adult-use (age 21 and over) of marijuana and permit home cultivation of marijuana effective July 1, 2021.
  • Create the Cannabis Control Authority and its Board of Directors to regulate and control the possession, sale, transportation, distribution, and delivery of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products in the state.
  • For background check information related to marijuana, at Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-389.3, effective July 1, 2021:
    • Criminal history record information contained in the Central Criminal Records Exchange including arrest records, criminal charges, or convictions for a misdemeanor violation of selling, possessing, distributing, or gifting marijuana (including deferred or dismissed charges) is not open for public inspection or disclosure unless to an employer or prospective employer:
      • Because they are required by federal law, state law, or local ordinance to ask about prior criminal charges or convictions; or
      • For a federal security officer job or the premises that the employee would be accessing are of national security interest.
    • Employers continue to be prohibited from requiring a job applicant from disclose information concerning any arrest, criminal charge, or conviction against them in any job application, interview, or otherwise but now they also may not ask about an arrest, charge, or conviction related to the applicant selling or possessing marijuana. However, this does not apply if state or federal law requires the inquiry.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.