State lawmakers to consider marijuana marketplace during General Assembly session
RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - When Virginia lawmakers consider unfinished business early next year, a marijuana marketplace will be one item on their list.
Virginia legalized the possession of small amounts last year, but has made little progress toward establishing a framework for legal sales.
Advocates for marijuana reform are hoping legislation introduced this week could win support from Democrats, Republicans and ultimately Governor Glenn Youngkin.
Virginians may legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use and grow up to four marijuana plants in their homes without fear of prosecution. But right now, there’s no way to make a legal purchase, unless you have a medical marijuana card.
Republican Delegate Keith Hodges (R-Gloucester) has introduced legislation that would launch a regulated commercial market in 2024.
“This is a smart bill that was carefully constructed by Del. Hodges, and really stands the best chance of succeeding out of any of the adult-use related bills this year,” JM Pedini told WDBJ7 Thursday afternoon.
Pedini is Executive Director of Virginia NORML, the state affiliate of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws. Pedini believes Hodges’ measure can win bipartisan support. What’s missing, Pedini says, is direction from Governor Youngkin.
“Cannabis legalization carries popular support with voters on both sides of the aisle,” Pedini said. “And we’re hopeful Governor Youngkin will recognize that and provide the direction the legislature is really looking for.”
Hodges’ bill includes a provision that would allow localities to opt out of marijuana sales, if voters agree in a local referendum.
Other marijuana measures are expected during the General Assembly session that begins Jan. 11.
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