Virginia’s new cannabis authority faces more responsibilities, possible budget cuts
Lawmakers have signaled they want the new Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to take over the state’s medical marijuana program and act as the main enforcer of stricter rules on cannabis-related advertising.
But the authority, which is still staffing up after being established in 2021, is also battling the prospect of a major budget cut included in an initial spending plan approved last month by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.
At a meeting of the five-member cannabis authority board Wednesday, Chief Administrative Officer Jamie Patten said the authority has told policymakers it’s concerned about the proposed budget cut and “what it would mean to us being able to operate.”
“Of course, now we’re in this limbo where the session ended,” Patten said, referring to the General Assembly’s decision to adjourn Saturday without a finished budget.
Lawmakers’ differing approaches to how fast the state should stand up an independent authority to act as a cannabis-focused equivalent of the state’s alcohol authority highlights Virginia’s still-jumbled approach to marijuana and hemp.
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