Virginia’s Adult-Use Marijuana Debut in Peril After Republicans Defeat Retail Bill!
After a regulation bill was killed in a Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly committee, the anticipated start date of January 1, 2024, for legal adult-use marijuana sales is in doubt. For adults, marijuana use was legalized in the state in 2021, making it the first in the South to do so.
The bill that Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed into law to legalize the drug set a deadline for sales of January 1, 2024. However, the legislation left it up to state legislators, who have not yet done so, to work out the critical regulatory elements.
After that, Republicans gained control of both the executive and legislative branches in the state. According to the Associated Press, partisan bickering has prevented Virginia from enacting the legislation required to begin retail sales for the second year in a row.
This is similar to the party-line gridlock that has delayed legalization in other states, such as Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Democratic state senator Adam Ebbin‘s effort to have the state agency be tasked with drafting adult-use retail laws was killed this week by the same Republican-controlled House committee that had previously killed the bill.
“That was totally expected, but it’s still upsetting,” JM Pedini, NORML’s development director, said in a statement on the setback. Even though Virginians can legally possess marijuana and grow up to four plants at home, they are limited to the state’s medical marijuana program and have nowhere else to purchase cannabis goods.
Despite the fact that the state’s law permits up to five enterprises to cultivate and sell medical marijuana, the issue of the fifth license has been put on hold due to an ongoing legal challenge. Glenn Youngkin, the next governor of Virginia, has spoken out against implementation proposals, stating that he is more concerned with regulating items containing psychoactive cannabinoids produced from hemp, such as delta-8 THC.