Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved By Senate Committee, With Home Cultivation Provisions Intact

MJ moment

A Virginia Senate committee on Friday approved a bill to legalize marijuana in the Commonwealth, bringing the proposal one step closer to a full floor vote. Before advancing the legislation to another panel, lawmakers defeated a proposal to remove home cultivation rights for cannabis. The Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee approved the legislation in a 8-7 vote. Members also accepted a series of recommended amendments from a newly formed subcommittee that’s singularly focused on marijuana policy and that held two hearings on the bill earlier this week. The legislation, which was unveiled by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) last week and is being carried by top Senate and House leaders, would create a system of regulated and taxed marijuana sales and production, and allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to four plants for personal use, two of which could be mature. During Friday’s hearing, the panel discussed and approved the subcommittee proposals. That includes an amendment to establish an independent agency to regulate the marijuana market, rather than have the state’s existing alcohol division handle it as would be the case under the governor’s original proposal. Because of the time it will take to set up that agency, the implementation timeline will be pushed back to 2024 instead of 2023 unless the General Assembly moves to expedite the process in the meantime. Members also agreed to keep a home grow option for adult consumers, a significant win for reform advocates who argue it will provide a needed access point, particularly to low-income people. There were two votes on a proposal to remove the personal cultivation provisions; the first was narrowly defeated 8-7 and the second was more soundly rejected 10-5. “NORML is pleased that cooler heads prevailed, defeating…

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Source : Virginia Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved By Senate Committee, With Home Cultivation Provisions Intact

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