Virginia Lawmakers Push for Earlier Launch of Cannabis Retail Sales

High Times

Virginia state lawmakers are calling for an earlier start to licensed sales of recreational marijuana, arguing that the delay between the legalization of cannabis possession and the launch of regulated retailers will encourage illicit sales. But some legislators are wary that the idea could jeopardize the state’s cannabis social equity program before it gets off the ground and are urging their colleagues to proceed with caution. At the inaugural meeting of Virginia’s Joint Commission on Cannabis Oversight on Tuesday, Democratic Delegate Paul Krizek told his fellow lawmakers that marijuana reform as it now stands leaves the state’s residents in a legal quandary. “We have legalized the use of marijuana, but we have not legalized the actual purchase of marijuana,” said Krizek. “What we need to do is get the safe sales of marijuana out there as soon as possible,” he added. Virginia Cannabis Possession Legalized In July In April, Virginia state lawmakers passed a bill to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana. Under that legislation, personal possession of cannabis became legal on July 1. But licensed sales of recreational marijuana are not slated to begin until 2024, a delay designed to give regulators time to draft rules and issue licenses to adult-use cannabis businesses. At Tuesday’s meeting, Krizek said that the lack of licensed retailers can be confusing for consumers, who may mistakenly buy from illicit suppliers. “People know it’s legal, and they probably think they can buy it legally. And it’s going to become more and more difficult to explain that to the general public,” he said. “We don’t want to facilitate an illegal market out there.” Several lawmakers have expressed support for a proposal that would allow the state’s existing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational cannabis to all adults 21 and older. Under current regulations,…

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Source : Virginia Lawmakers Push for Earlier Launch of Cannabis Retail Sales

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