In a move to provide racial justice, Virginia lawmakers passed two marijuana legalization bills that delay the implementation of several criminal penalties and legalize possession of one ounce or less. The bills, which require reenactment, would also allow retail sales of marijuana. The legislation would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of the drug, and criminal penalties would be reduced.
The House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment welcomed the plans, which would legalize recreational marijuana. But Republicans voiced concerns about the nearly marijuana blog 300-page bill, arguing that it disproportionately penalizes victims of the war on drugs. In addition, Republicans questioned the motives of Gov. Ralph Northam, who is a longtime opponent of legalization.
As a skeptic of marijuana legalization, state senator Richard Stuart questioned the average Virginian’s understanding of the 264-page compromise report. However, the final language was so vague that it was unclear whether the average person would understand it. It is important to note that the bill would not allow for a person to grow marijuana in his or her back yard. It would also make it difficult to buy a specific amount of cannabis, despite the fact that the law makes it illegal to do so.
The House version of the marijuana legalization bill includes an amended provision that prohibits vertical integration. Under the Senate’s version, the bill does not limit vertical integration, but allows vertical integration and requires a $1 million licensing fee. The money from this fee would be used for social equity provisions in the legislation. The bill also allows co-location of medical dispensaries and adult-use stores. The legislation also gives local governments the option of banning adult-use marijuana sales through voter referendum.
As of February 1, both the House of Delegates and Senate passed the legalization bills. The House also approved a bill that would allow simple possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults. The bill also included buy cannabis seeds provisions that would make it easier for businesses to operate without the government’s approval. The House rejected the House’s proposal, which would have required a public referendum to pass the legislation.
The compromise bill would have legalized marijuana on July 1 2024, but the House and Senate voted to postpone the law until the 2023 legislative session. The state’s current legal marijuana laws are inconsistent, and the compromise bill contains language to prevent illicit sales. But if the two-year delay is made permanent, then sales will begin in 2024, as originally planned. This legislation was the product of tense negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders in both chambers.
The bills will still be in effect until 2024. The Senate’s bill would legalize marijuana in July 2024, while the House’s bill would legalize it on July 1 2024. This means that the state’s recreational marijuana law will not become law until 2024, which leaves the parameters of the industry uncertain. Although the legislation will be enacted in the next legislative session, the state’s Republican governor will likely not veto the bill, citing concern about the illicit sales of marijuana.
The Virginia Legislature passed the bills despite the opposition of the advocacy groups. The two bills also re-enactment clause will require the state legislature to approve the regulations again in the following session. Both bills require that the state law be implemented in full before the sales of marijuana can begin. After that, the state will have a full legalization policy. Eventually, sales will begin in 2024, but there are still some concerns about the re-enactment of the laws.
This bill will make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older on July 1, 2020. The state’s legislation will also include automatic expungement of prior marijuana convictions. Further, the bill specifies a category of applicants who fall into a category of “social equity.” Those people are those who have been charged with a marijuana-related crime or who have graduated from historically black colleges. So it is good news for those in marginalized communities to be legalized.