Cannabis Legalization Advances In The Virginia Legislature

For legalization advocates in Virginia, this could prove to be a decisive week.

With support at the highest levels of the state government—not to mention among voters in the commonwealth—a bill to lift pot prohibition in Virginia will reportedly be brought to its first votes in the legislature in the coming days.

According to the Virginia Mercury, lawmakers in both chambers have been making tweaks to a bill that could make legalization a reality, including one change that bumped “the start of retail sales to Jan. 1, 2024, a full year later than the 2023 date proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam.”

The delayed start date, the Mercury reports, is intended to “give the state time to establish an independent agency to oversee marijuana businesses, an idea lawmakers said they favored over Northam’s proposal to delegate the responsibility to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, which, in addition to running the state’s liquor stores, also functions as a law enforcement agency.”

But that timetable isn’t sitting quite right with some lawmakers, including state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a Democrat from Richmond.

“If we know we’re going down the road of legalizing, it seems to me the repeal of simple possession at a

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