Virginia Adult-Use Cannabis Plans Halted Due to Failed Bills
Although Virginia adult-use cannabis sales were projected to begin no later than Jan. 1, 2024, the state’s adult-use cannabis sales plans have been stalled for the foreseeable future. Initially, adult-use cannabis was sent by a Democratic-controlled General Assembly to the desk of former Gov. Ralph Northam, who signed the legislation in April 2021. The law included a clause that required the General Assembly to reenact certain provisions, such as regulatory and licensing market structure. However in November 2021, the General Assembly shifted to Republican control, as did the House of Delegates, which ultimately led to the failure of provisional bills. In January, a House of Delegates subcommittee rejected a Republican-sponsored cannabis bill proposed that would have allowed sales to begin prior to Jan. 1, 2024. Republican Delegate Keith Hodges, who sponsored the failed cannabis bill that would have created adult-use cannabis regulations, called the situation a “public health crisis” just before the bill was rejected on Jan. 25. “You can legally possess marijuana in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but you can’t legally purchase it,” Hodges said. “If we do nothing, we have a problem on our hands. We need to protect the citizens of Virginia from the illicit market.” According to NORML Development Director and Virginia NORML Executive Director JM Pedini explained that the result of the vote “was entirely expected, but is still disappointing, and it spotlights House Republicans’ continued failure of leadership on cannabis policy,” Pedini said. “Without access to a regulated marketplace, consumers won’t know whether they’re getting a safe, tested product or one contaminated with potentially dangerous adulterants.” “This vote is another huge disappointment for Virginians, the majority of whom favor swift access to retail sales,” Pedini continued. “Legislation providing regulatory oversight is the best way for the Commonwealth to protect cannabis consumers. By failing to take legislative…
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