Virginia is unsuccessful in creating a legal marijuana market
Although Virginia was the first state in the South to allow marijuana possession, finding the substance still isn’t any simpler.
Why it matters: This year, Virginia won’t have a legal marijuana market. It’s unlikely that lawmakers will bring up the subject once more until their normal session the following year.
Generating the news: According to Ned Oliver of Axios, the Virginia legislative session came to a standstill this past weekend because lawmakers were unable to create a legal retail market.
Also, they worked to have the state’s newly created Cannabis Control Authority, which was created to control the marijuana industry, defunded.
Quick recap: It is acceptable to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in public, grow no more than four plants, and give marijuana as a present (but not in the D.C. way). But, selling the plant outside of the state’s medical marijuana program is still illegal, and there is no approved retail market for recreational sales.
Democratic lawmakers had intended to launch a legal retail market by 2024 after voting across party lines to legalize marijuana possession two years prior, but they lost control of the House of Delegates and the governor’s office in 2021.
Meanwhile, as one of Gov. Youngkin’s major priorities during the session, lawmakers took tough measures against hemp-based synthetic THC products that have flourished in cigarette stores and petrol stations.
This means hemp-derived products will be subject to a more robust permitting process and a limit on how much THC can be in each product, per the Virginia Mercury.
What they’re saying: Proponents of the new hemp rules say they’re a step towards a safer consumer market, reports the Virginia Mercury, and Youngkin is likely to sign the measure.