The cannabis industry is growing at an astonishing rate. In 2020 the global cannabis market size was worth $20.47 billion. By 2028, experts predict that figure to approach a staggering $200 billion. As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, more opportunities become available for eager entrepreneurs to tap into the market. From agricultural businesses that grow the plants to the businesses that sell them, the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana is opening the door to a wide range of business ventures.

This tremendous spike in supply and demand creates enticing opportunities to cash in on a trend that has high potential value. However, tapping into this market requires working with an attorney who understands both marijuana and business law. If you’re an entrepreneur in Lynchburg or Blackstone who is curious about investing in the marijuana industry, reach out to Gordon. He’s ready to help you understand the applicable laws in your unique situation so that you can move forward.



Complex Laws Surrounding
Marijuana Sales

With the expansion of the marijuana industry, complex laws surround the growth, sale, and use of these products. In short, cannabis law is confusing, and it varies between states. Sometimes, state and federal laws appear to be in opposition to each other, leaving potential businesses bewildered and in desperate need of legal counsel.

Federal Marijuana Laws

Even if you live in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, it may come as a surprise to learn that possessing, buying, or selling marijuana is still a federal crime. The problem is that, despite the liberalization of state laws across the country, federal law still treats marijuana as a controlled substance, just like cocaine or heroin. This creates potential legal violations for entrepreneurs who attempt to start the process without seeking legal counsel as their first step. 

Virginia Marijuana Laws

As of July 1, 2021, adults in Virginia who are 21 and older are allowed to possess a small amount of recreational marijuana and to cultivate a small number of marijuana plants in their homes. The Virginia General Assembly approved a bill that legalized adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill also provides for the sale of recreational marijuana. However, keep in mind that retail sales are not scheduled to begin until 2024. State laws surrounding the use and sale of marijuana are constantly changing, so it is critical that you consult with an attorney with knowledge of both marijuana and business law before creating any type of entrepreneurial plan. 

The Marijuana Industry

The marijuana business can be broken into three general categories. Each type of business varies depending on if they are designed for recreational or medical marijuana use. Other industries include testing facilities, delivery services, consumption devices, and even software services. 

  • Cultivation —  The growing and harvesting of marijuana. This arm of the industry is heavily regulated. 

  • Cannabis Products — Edibles, tinctures, salves, and other cannabis-infused products.

  • Retail — Commonly referred to as “dispensaries,” this includes stores with cannabis-based products for sale. These are typically the most difficult and expensive type of marijuana business to start, but potentially the most financially lucrative. 

Challenges To Consider

Opening a legal marijuana business is more complex than starting most other types of enterprise, because of the regulatory environment and the remaining uncertainties. State laws do vary for cannabis companies and the entrepreneurs who are trying to create them. Here are a few factors that you should be considering before deciding if the cannabis industry is right for you:

  • Cost — Though a marijuana business can potentially be highly profitable, starting such a business can also require a substantial investment. Costs will vary according to location, specific state laws, and types of business. All business-related costs need to be considered.

  • Residency —  Virtually all marijuana business licensees (and investors, in some cases) must be state residents. As an example of this, the state of Colorado mandates a two-year residency period prior to becoming eligible to obtain a license.

  • Criminal Record — Most states that allow marijuana businesses do prohibit felons with drug or violent crime convictions on their records from being eligible for a marijuana business license.

  • Risk — The legal marijuana industry is quite risky due to its early status and the constantly changing regulations, but the reward can also be very high.

  • Timing — Be sure you are able to wait for several months while the application process runs its course for you to get your marijuana business license. 

  • Investors and Partners — As with most business startups, capital is needed to get the enterprise up and running. Some investors remain wary about investing in a business type that is still illegal from a federal law standpoint. Much of the funding for marijuana businesses comes from private investors rather than banks.


Marijuana businesses face unique challenges and opportunities in this fast-paced, highly regulated industry. At the forefront of this exciting and rapidly growing industry, Gordon offers legal guidance and creative solutions to help clients achieve their business goals. Attorney Peters serves clients in Lynchburg and Blackstone, Virginia as well as neighboring areas of Amherst, Campbell, Bedford, Nottoway, Prince Edward, and Charlotte Counties. Set up a one-on-one consultation today.