- Eli Hunt
Virginia GOP Blocks Early Start to Recreational Sales
Got your medical marijuana card in hand, but wondering what's going on with recreational sales? Have we got news for you!
After passing in the senate, a measure that would have launched recreational marijuana sales in Virginia starting in September was blocked by a House of Delegates subcommittee. The vote ran along party lines, with 5 GOP members against and 3 Dems for.
The measure would have allowed current, regulated medical marijuana providers and some industrial hemp producers to start selling recreational, adult-use products in the fall. This start date pushed the timeline for sales up by more than a year.
A Start and Then a Stall
Virginians celebrated last year when adult possession was legalized in the Commonwealth. Legislators on both sides of the aisle expressed concern early on that confusion over retail sales might lead to a black market. Democrats advocated for an earlier start date, with some also pushing social justice initiatives that would funnel recreational sales opportunities towards minority communities.
Republicans, however, were split on how to address retail sales. Some want all social equity initiatives eliminated, as well as sentencing revisions that were drafted into the original legislation. Other Republicans had focused on how retail sales would be executed and where profits from sales would be funneled.
The early warning signs of Republican discontent were out there. House GOP delegates had not even docketed their own marijuana-related initiatives, indicating that they were not likely to move on any marijuana-related issues until next year’s session. GOP house members filed at least eight bills that worked to amend the original marijuana legislation drafted in 2021, but the caucus chose not to take any action on the measures before the session’s deadline.
Why Is Virginia Still Voting on Marijuana?
The General Assembly did legalize possession by adults of up to an ounce of marijuana in 2021. This legislation also laid out a loose framework for retail sales, but with little detail. Overall, goals included funneling retail opportunities towards minority businesses and using profits to support initiatives that would ameliorate harm done during the War on Drugs to minority communities.
The legislation did, however, include a reenactment clause that would require the General Assembly to revisit the regulatory structure for retail sales in 2022.
House Democrat Ebbin drafted a measure that would have provided for transitional sales until a full release with a full, regulatory structure could get finalized. This was the legislation that passed in the senate but then stalled in the House.
What this Means for Marijuana in Virginia
The good news first— medical marijuana is safe, and sales of this important, therapeutic product will continue in the Commonwealth in perpetuity. Consensus across Virginia shows that most Virginians, from seniors to veterans, now understand the value of medical marijuana in treating a wide range of medical conditions. Even school districts have begun establishing protocols for administering medical marijuana to children with prescriptions.
As for recreational sales, only time will tell. In the meantime, those interested in adult use products might benefit from exploring their medical marijuana options. For one, they can get access to a vetted, carefully cultivated product that is grown with the strictest standards for safety. Medical marijuana can also help with a wide range of conditions, making it a viable option for many Virginians.
Explore the Value and Efficacy of Medical Marijuana Today!
If you would like to figure out how medical marijuana can help you, consult with a certified medical marijuana doctor today. You don’t need to wait for recreational, and you may even find that you will access a much more therapeutic and dynamic product!
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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