Lawmakers in Virginia Disagree on Cannabis Conviction Re-Sentencing |



Adult-use hashish gross sales could begin next calendar year in Virginia, but lawmakers in the commonwealth keep on being at loggerheads more than what to do about men and women at the moment incarcerated on pot-linked fees. 

The Virginia Mercury reported that a committee of state Senate and House users “tasked with making suggestions for the legislative session that starts Wednesday concluded its do the job this week with a proposal to start off recreational sales in 2023—a yr earlier than initially prepared,” but those people lawmakers “said they ran out of time to attain an agreement” on the matter of re-sentencing for hashish convictions.

The recent state of perform in Virginia seems to be quite various than it did last spring, when a Democratic-controlled common assembly handed a bill that produced Virginia the initial point out in the south to legalize recreational pot. 

Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam signed the monthly bill into legislation, hailing it as a new day for prison justice in the commonwealth.

“What this seriously means is that individuals will no extended be arrested or experience penalties for simple possession that adhere to them and impact their life,” Northam stated at the time. “We know that cannabis regulations in Virginia and all through this country have been disproportionately enforced in opposition to communities of shade and minimal-profits Virginians.”

Last week, as lawmakers convened in the money metropolis of Richmond, the GOP officially assumed control about 1-half of the common assembly. And on Saturday, the Republican Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as the new governor of Virginia. 

The suggestion from the Hashish Oversight Fee to start off cannabis sales future yr arrived very last week forward of the opening of the legislative session.

Youngkin stated in an job interview previously this thirty day period that he “will not look for to overturn the legislation on personalized possession,” but the governor-elect—who defeated the Democrat Terry McAuliffe in November—balked on the subject matter of pot sales.

“When it arrives to commercialization, I assume there is a lot of get the job done to be done. I’m not versus it, but there is a great deal of get the job done to be done,” Youngkin instructed Virginia Business enterprise. “There are some nonstarters, including the pressured unionization that’s in the present invoice. There have been worries expressed by legislation enforcement in how the gap in the legislation can actually be enforced. Finally, there is a genuine require to make sure that we aren’t marketing an anti-competitive sector. I do comprehend that there are tastes to make confident that all participants in the market are qualified to do the industry perfectly.”

The subject of how to deal with individuals currently serving time for hashish did not occur up in that interview, nor was it resolved by the legislative committee past 7 days.

The Virginia Mercury documented that the “Virginia Department of Corrections claims 10 folks are now serving sentences in which the most severe offense was cannabis,” and that in “all of the instances, the people had been convicted of transporting five or a lot more lbs . of marijuana into the state.”

“All 10 are expected to be introduced in the next 6 several years, according to the division, which offered the information Monday to the assembly’s Hashish Oversight Commission,” according to the report. “Another 560 persons are serving sentences partially connected to a marijuana offense but have also been found responsible of additional significant offenses.”

In the interview with Virginia Small business earlier this month, Youngkin did go over the probable financial windfall from legalization, particularly for minority communities.

“I am all for possibilities for minority-owned corporations, women of all ages-owned businesses [and] army-owned businesses,” he mentioned. “We also have to make absolutely sure that they have the abilities to contend and thrive in the industry. So, I assume there is do the job to be completed. All of that will be on the table. Again, I never look to overturn the monthly bill, but I feel we need to make guaranteed that it functions.”