• Eli Hunt

Minority Cannabis Business are being Shut Out Due to Virginia's New Bill


The issue of recreational sales in the Commonwealth has been quite a rollercoaster ride lately! Left pending after legalization passed in 2021, recreational marijuana is still up in the air as of this writing. While Virginians with medical marijuana cards can continue to enjoy the benefits of cannabis, recreational use is on hold.

Adult use is not the only thing on the line, however. Many minority businesses that would have benefitted from recreational sales may be left out in the cold once provisions are in place. What’s going on with minority business and adult use marijuana? Let’s take a look!

Social Equity Through Legislation

As legislators first began drafting marijuana laws in Virginia, many cannabis advocates and social justice activists began advocating for the inclusion of social equity provisions within the legislation. The thinking was that the War on Drugs had placed an inordinate and unfair amount of pressure on minority communities in the Commonwealth, so by writing social equity into the legislation, legislators could begin to “right some of these wrongs,” as the saying goes.

The details of recreational sales were left pending as of the end of the 2021 session. By the time the 2022 legislative session came around, there was a new boss in town in the form of Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin. With control of the House of Delegates also swinging back to the Republicans, activists became concerned over the fate of recreational sales and their social equity provisions.


Republicans Docket All Measures

At the start of the session, it seemed as though there would be some effort to “fix” the issues related to recreational sales. Republicans even put forth eight measures designed to define or restructure adult use in the Commonwealth. These efforts were all for naught, however, as the caucus refused to docket any of the measures. Having passed the deadline, recreational sales would remain on the shelf until the next legislative session.


Resistance to Social Equity

In all legislative actions and discussion around recreational sales, it was clear that there was a good deal of resistance to social equity initiatives related to minority communities. The original legislation stated that minority entrepreneurs would be prioritized once recreational sales are finalized, gaining business opportunities before others. Many Republicans, including the governor himself, spoke out against these components.


Move to Funnel Resources Towards Established Businesses

What little movement was achieved during the legislative session in 2022 indicated that minority businesses may end up being shut out. Democrats and Republicans alike proposed measures that would give initial recreational sales to the entities that have already been handling medical marijuana within each of the state’s health districts. The logic was that these businesses are already dealing responsibly with cannabis and have the infrastructure in place to move forward with recreational sales quickly.


Adult Use: Still up in the Air

No matter what happens with recreational use, medical marijuana is still widely supported in Virginia, both in the legislature and by average Virginians! Everyone from seniors to veterans to women have begun to understand the value of this natural, therapeutic product. Adult use may still become the law of the land, but medical marijuana is here to stay!


Start the Process With a Medical Marijuana Card Today!

Want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without waiting for adult use to pass? Medical marijuana may be the answer!


Schedule an appointment with an online VA medical marijuana doctor today to start gaining access to safe and legal cannabis products, including tinctures, flower, concentrates and more for your loved one or patient!


 

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