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  • Christopher D.

After Virginia Governor's Marijuana Veto, Hopes for Recreational Marijuana Sales Fade Until 2027 or Later

Updated: Apr 17

Efforts to launch legal adult-use marijuana sales in Virginia hit a major roadblock last month when Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have regulated and taxed a new marijuana retail market. In the aftermath, leading Democratic senators say it will likely be 2027 at the earliest before recreational marijuana shops can open their doors statewide.

The veto dashes hopes that Virginia could soon join the growing list of states allowing commercial marijuana sales. Instead, it sets the stage for years of further political battles over the issue before a future governor potentially signs an adult-use bill into law.

"I'm very direct, and sometimes folks don't like to hear the harsh truth, but it's the harsh truth," said Sen. Aaron Rouse, who sponsored the doomed retail marijuana bill in the Senate. "There's a really big mountain to climb with this governor and his administration. I think he will veto setting up an adult marijuana market regardless of what we send him."

Sen. Adam Ebbin, a longtime champion of marijuana reform who also spearheaded the legislation, echoed that pessimistic outlook in comments at a recent public event. With Youngkin hostile to the issue, Ebbin said the earliest opportunity for legal recreational sales may not come until a new governor takes office in January 2026 after the 2025 election cycle.

"By 2027, there will be a new governor in Virginia," Ebbin said. "It's possible that after the 2025 gubernatorial election, someone will take office in January of 2026 who would sign an adult-use marketplace bill."

The Veto Underscores the Continued Importance of Medical Marijuana Cards

For now, the governor's veto means no changes to Virginia's current laws, where adult recreational possession, home cultivation and private sharing of marijuana are permitted, but sales remain illegal outside the tightly regulated medical marijuana program.

"This is a great starting point for us with possession and home grow now legal," Rouse said. "But ultimately, I think we will just have to wait our time until we get a more friendly person into the governor's mansion."

With no licensed adult-use marijuana providers on the horizon, Virginians looking to access legal marijuana will need to continue obtaining a medical marijuana card from a state-approved physician. Only then can they purchase products from one of the limited number of medical dispensaries operating across the Commonwealth.

Why You Should Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Virginia 

Getting a medical marijuana card in Virginia helps ensure safe, legal and regulated access to marijuana for qualifying conditions like cancer, Crohn's disease, epilepsy and PTSD. A doctor's recommendation protects patient rights while allowing monitored purchases from licensed dispensaries rather than relying on the illicit market.

Furthermore, Virginia's medical marijuana program imposes stringent testing requirements to ensure products are free of contaminants and accurately labeled for potency and cannabinoid profiles. Patients can have full confidence they are receiving high-quality medicine cultivated and processed under tight oversight.

For many Virginia patients suffering from serious or chronic medical issues, marijuana provides a far safer alternative to pharmaceutical drugs while offering relief from debilitating symptoms. A legally obtained medical card is currently the only way to tap into those potential benefits through regulated channels.

The Battle Continues for Legal Recreational Marijuana Access

While their bill faced an uphill battle and ultimate veto from Youngkin, the Senate Democratic sponsors say they have no plans to back down from pushing to create a legal adult-use system in Virginia down the line.

"As I have for several years, I'll keep fighting for a regulated and safe recreational adult-use cannabis marketplace and continue to welcome folks joining me legislatively," Ebbin said. "It's well past time for the governor and his Republican colleagues to take this seriously."

Their measure would have launched retail sales starting in 2025, allowing adults 21 and over to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower or its equivalent in other marijuana products. It included provisions for social equity, funding treatment programs, and local opt-out rules while imposing a modest 11.625% state tax rate.  

Youngkin, however, claimed in his veto message that "the proposed legalization of retail marijuana in the Commonwealth endangers Virginians' health and safety," echoing long-standing arguments from prohibitionists about potential societal harms despite countervailing evidence.

Years-Long Path Ahead for Legal Recreational Sales

The governor's hardline position reflects the Virginia GOP's rightward shift on marijuana policy compared to past leaders like former Republican House Speaker Wiliam Howell, who supported decriminalization in 2020. And with legislative Democrats lacking the votes for a veto override, it appears advocates face an extended waiting game.

"We'd need to actually attract support from the governor's party, and we don't anticipate that happening," Ebbin said of trying to revive the vetoed bill during this week's veto session in Richmond. "So we have to get in a mode where we start over in a future year."

House sponsor Del. Paul Krizek has already pledged to refile the legislation next session, allowing further refinements to the proposal. But unless major political shifts occur, the impasse could persist for several more years until at least the 2025 statewide election cycle produces more supportive leadership.

In the interim, obtaining a medical marijuana card remains the sole legal avenue for Virginians seeking regulated marijuana access based on a doctor's approval and oversight. And despite the setback, supporters remain confident that commercial adult-use sales will eventually join the Commonwealth's newest agricultural and small business opportunity.

"This is just one hurdle on what will be an ongoing push to get Virginia's recreational marijuana market up and running responsibly," Rouse said. "With a majority of Virginians in support, we'll keep making that case until we get it right."

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today

Lucky for you, medical marijuana is already available in Virginia! You can get your medical marijuana card and access dispensaries today if you have a qualifying condition.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Virginia, but it does not mean much since there are no recreational dispensaries to purchase products from.

There are also countless benefits to having your medical card in a recreational state! You will save money on taxes and marijuana products and enjoy higher possession and purchase limits if you have your medical card in Virginia!

In order to qualify for your medical marijuana card, you will need to have a condition that would make you eligible. If you aren’t sure if you would qualify, give us a call and we can answer any questions you may have about the process.

If you don’t already have your card, no worries. We can help! If you think you could benefit from medical marijuana, there is a good chance you would qualify for your medical card in the State of Virginia. With telemedicine, it is now easier than ever to get your medical card from the comfort of your own home!

In Virginia, any inhibiting condition could qualify you for your medical card. If you don’t already have it, we can help! Schedule an evaluation online today and we’ll make an appointment for you with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors.



Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness

safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on

education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by

providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

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