Virginia Marijuana Legalization

Virginia is now the 16th state legislature to pass an adult recreational marijuana legalization bill

Photo by Martijn Baudoin on Unsplash

As public opinion and influence of the adjacent Washington DC metro continue to increase voter support for legalizing marijuana, Virginia state senator Adam Ebbin was able to garner enough support for his bill to make that state number 16 on the list of U.S. states that have passed marijuana legalization legislation.

“Virginia legislators are proving that it is possible to work swiftly to pass legislation that would not only legalize cannabis but also address the disproportionate harm caused by decades of prohibition,” said Steve Hawkins, Marijuana Policy Project’s executive director.

The cultivation and sale of marijuana will be legal for individuals 21 or older once regulatory rules are drafted and put in place. The full rollout of legal dispensaries won’t be allowed until 2024.

The law allows residents to grow up to four marijuana plants for their personal use. The plants must be out of sight and tagged with the owner’s contact information.

The measure sets caps for the number of licenses that can be issued:

  • 400 retail stores
  • 25 wholesalers
  • 60 manufacturing facilities
  • 450 cultivation facilities

In comparison, Virginia only has 392 Alcoholic Beverage Control stores. However, ABC stores are state-owned and marijuana stores will be privately owned.

Gov. Ralph Northam would like to speed up the process but is also expected to propose amendments. For starters, the legislation makes it hard for municipalities to opt out of hosting dispensaries if they don’t do so from the beginning. On the other hand, it does not allow them to opt-out of allowing cannabis cultivation operations.

Pace “Pachi” LaVia is a freelance researcher/writer specializing in the burgeoning cannabis industry, as well as science and future technology.

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