• Eli Hunt

Youngkin's Version of the Future for Marijuana Social Equity


If you have a medical marijuana card in Virginia, you might be familiar with some of the social benefits that resulted from the legalization of cannabis in the Commonwealth. What you might not know is that marijuana legislation in the state particularly focuses on social equity. What is social equity in the context of cannabis and what is its future in Virginia? It may be on shaky ground with the new governor, Glenn Youngkin!


Social Equity and Marijuana in Virginia

When Virginia began developing its laws around the possession and sales of legal marijuana, social activists stepped forward and asked for the inclusion of social equity provisions.


These activists believe that much of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ unfairly targeted black and minority communities in the Commonwealth. The hope was that by including social equity provisions in marijuana legislation, Virginia could right some of these wrongs.


As a result of advocacy by social activists and activists within the cannabis community, the legislation ended up including several social equity provisions:

· The establishment of an equity fund that would support black and minority entrepreneurship when retail sales began

· The expungement of sentences related to marijuana

· Reserving a number of retail licenses for women and minority businesses


Marijuana legislation, including these provisions, passed the legislature in 2021, transforming the social landscape of Virginia. With a Republican governor now in place, however, how will legalization and these social equity initiatives fare?


Youngkin on Marijuana

During the campaign, Youngkin didn’t signal much on marijuana. He did say that — yay!— medical marijuana is, of course, here to stay. This is likely due to the wide-ranging support for this powerful medical solution. Everyone in the commonwealth, from seniors using medical marijuana for common elder conditions to veterans coping with PTSD, now understand the importance and relevance of medical marijuana.


Youngkin also stated that legalization would remain since it was now law. He did, however, suggest that some amendments might be necessary.


What did Youngkin suggest needed changing? He gave few clues before the election but in the months since, he has signaled that funneling funds to women and minority businesses may perhaps not be the best option. In an interview with Virginia Business, the governor said that these businesses would need to demonstrate that they could handle their businesses. He also stated that he felt commercialization of marijauana would need some systemic changes before retail sales could begin.


Republican Initiatives to Change Retail Sales

This cryptic statement was given more momentum once the 2022 legislative session opened in January. Within days, Republicans began introducing amendments to marijuana legislation that would eliminate social equity components, including the funneling of retail sales profits to an equity fund.


By the end of January, there were more than 8 proposed amendments ready and waiting for a vote. This could mean significant change for retail and its associated social equity components.


Medical Marijuana Is Here to Stay In VA!

Medical marijuana still seems to be in the best of health in 2022! Virginians will be able to continue accessing medical marijuana for treating a range of medical conditions.


The social momentum behind medical marijuana has extended into school districts as well. Many districts across the Commonwealth have developed rules that allow administrating medical marijuana to children with prescriptions. Youngkin has made no statement about this, suggesting that these important efforts at the county level will continue!

Get Your VA Marijuana Card Today!

You can change the way things are done moving forward in the Commonwealth by supporting medical marijuana. Getting your Virginia medical marijuana signals to the legislation that marijuana and the social equity it facilitates are here to stay!


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


 

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