Republican Lawmakers in Virginia Have Drafted New Cannabis Legislation

Virginia grownup-use cannabis law is not even a calendar year previous, but changes are very likely afoot. 

A lot has transformed in the commonwealth due to the fact then-Gov. Ralph Northam signed a monthly bill producing Virginia the to start with state in the south to legalize leisure cannabis. 

Virginia Republicans now manage one particular-fifty percent of the legislature, and have 1 of their individual in the governor’s mansion. As these types of, GOP lawmakers there have “drafted costs that would move up the start off day for retail revenue and get rid of a provision that would give licensing preference to individuals who’ve been convicted of cannabis crimes,” in accordance to the Involved Press.

The AP mentioned that they have “filed at the very least 8 expenditures that phone for amendments to the law that legalized grownup possession of up to an ounce of cannabis and laid the groundwork for retail profits to start in 2024.”

What that will finally mean for the new hashish legislation stays unclear. But Republicans, which include newly sworn in GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin, have as a result significantly explained that they do not intend to undo legalization––despite most of the party being opposed to the hard work to finish the prohibition on pot previous 12 months. 

In an interview revealed very last thirty day period, Youngkin claimed position-blank that he “will not search for to overturn the regulation on particular possession,” but he expressed much less certainty about the regulation of cannabis revenue.

“When it comes to commercialization, I consider there is a good deal of operate to be carried out. I’m not towards it, but there is a ton of work to be carried out,” Youngkin explained to Virginia Enterprise. “There are some nonstarters, such as the forced unionization that’s in the present monthly bill. There have been concerns expressed by legislation enforcement in how the gap in the rules can basically be enforced. At last, there’s a authentic require to make positive that we aren’t advertising an anti-competitive sector. I do fully grasp that there are tastes to make guaranteed that all contributors in the industry are experienced to do the sector perfectly.”

Northam signed the measure into regulation very last spring and, due to the fact July 1, 2021, it has been legal for Virginia grownups aged 21 and older to possess as a great deal as an ounce of weed. But pot sales continue to be unlawful below the legislation, and the newly made Cannabis Manage Authority, the regulatory agency overseeing Virginia’s new hashish field, has explained that legal gross sales will not start ahead of 2024.

The new hashish legislation also included social justice provisions, with an goal toward expunging and re-sentencing preceding lower-stage marijuana convictions.

“What this truly suggests is that folks will no lengthier be arrested or encounter penalties for simple possession that adhere to them and have an effect on their life,” Northam mentioned right after signing the invoice into legislation past calendar year. “We know that marijuana laws in Virginia and all through this place have been disproportionately enforced against communities of coloration and minimal-income Virginians.”

But that, far too, is an area in which Republicans and Democrats in Virginia are at odds.

The Virginia Mercury reported last month that a committee composed of state Senators and Home members started producing recommendations to other lawmakers on a proposal to get started cannabis income before than 2024. Having said that, all those committee associates ended up unable to agree on re-sentencing for marijuana convictions, because they ran out of time.

The Washington Article noted over the weekend that some of the expenses offered up “focus on the resentencing procedure for marijuana-connected offenses and document expungement.”

One particular bill released by a GOP member of the Residence of Delegates would nix “a provision that would give licensing preference to applicants who were convicted or linked to anyone who was convicted of a cannabis-related crime,” even though sustaining “other portions of the social equity provision, this sort of as providing choice to candidates who stay in communities disproportionately impacted by drug legislation enforcement, or who graduated from a traditionally Black school or university in the commonwealth.”