Cannabis Retail Bill Advanced By Virginia Lawmakers

A Virginia Senate committee advanced a bill to create an adult-use cannabis marketplace, aiming for sales by 2025, despite uncertainty about its reception by Governor Glenn Youngkin, who has expressed disinterest in facilitating adult-use cannabis sales.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in a Virginia Senate committee last week advanced a bill that would establish an adult-use cannabis marketplace in the state, the Washington Post reports.

The Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services passed SB 448 in a 10-5 bipartisan vote but the bill still needs to pass several more committees before reaching the Senate floor. If adopted, the bill would put into motion the regulation of cannabis manufacturing and distribution, with adult-use sales to launch in Virginia by January 1, 2025.

Proponents of the bill say that regulating adult-use cannabis is a commonsense step forward following the state’s legalization of cannabis three years ago and that licensed sales would reduce the risk of exposure to contaminated products.

“We already have a $3 billion adult-use cannabis market. It’s just being run by drug dealers who are selling untested, unlabeled, untaxed products. We are not creating the market. We are regulating the market.” — Greg Habeeb, lobbyist for the Virginia Cannabis Association, via the Washington Post

Lawmakers are still uncertain, however, how the bill would fare before Gov. Glenn Youngking (R), whose administration stated last year that the governor had no plans to facilitate adult-use cannabis sales while he is in office.

“This is an area that I really don’t have any interest in,” Youngkin told reporters earlier this month. “There’s so many things that we can work on that I think we can get to the finish line and … I just don’t have a lot of interest in pressing forward with marijuana legislation.”

Numerous studies, including a recent CDC analysis, have suggested that having a regulated adult-use cannabis market does not lead to an increase in underage cannabis use; rather, it may reduce teenagers’ access to cannabis.

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