Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has appointed five individuals to the state’s Cannabis Control Authority (CCA), the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The appointees will work with the CEO of the CCA, who is expected to be chosen by Northam in the coming weeks, to roll out the state’s adult-use cannabis program in 2024. The list of CCA members is comprised of a high-powered cohort of Virginia businesspeople, entrepreneurs, attorneys, and one social equity advocate.
In addition to the CCA, two other groups will assist in developing the state’s fledgling cannabis system. The governor and legislative leaders recently appointed 13 members to the 20-member Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board and other positions on the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Board—a 21 person board tasked with issuing binding guidance on cannabis public health and studying the effect legal cannabis has on public health in Virginia. The state attorney general will also tap a state “cannabis attorney” to guide Virginia through the legal pitfalls of adult-use cannabis, the Times-Dispatch reports.
Citing the disproportionate effect of the war on drugs on communities of color, especially Black Virginians, the legislature took the groundbreaking step to pass adult-use cannabis this year, making it the first state in the South to embrace the reforms. Although retail sales will not commence until 2024, Virginians are allowed to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow four plants at home.
However, despite the progress, Virginia Republican Delegate Glenn Davis recently called the social equity provisions of the new law “asinine” and described putting people who had previously broken the law at the front of the line as, “insanity run amok.”
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