Canna-bust: Governor Youngkin proposes new penalties for possession of marijuana and changes to the retail sale of CBD
STATEWIDE — It’s been less than a year since Virginia became the first southern state to legalize marijuana.
On July 1, 2021, it became legal in Virginia for adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It also became legal for Virginians of the same age to grow up to four marijuana plants per home.
Currently, the penalties for those caught in possession of between one ounce and one pound are a $25 civil fine. Anything over a pound is considered a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
However, Governor Glenn Youngkin has proposed an amendment that would increase the penalty for personal possession of more than two ounces of marijuana.
Youngkin’s proposal would be substituted for SB 591 and would consider such possession a Class 2 misdemeanor for personal possession over two ounces and a Class 1 misdemeanor for over six ounces and up to one pound.
Youngkin’s proposal follows a recommendation made by the Joint Audit and Legislative Review Commission (JLARC), the watchdog agency of the Virginia General Assembly, which suggested lawmakers add a misdemeanor charge before it becomes a felony charge.
the National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform (NORML) issued a statement against Youngkin’s proposal.
“Instead of creating new ways to criminalize Virginians for personal possession of cannabis, Governor Youngkin’s administration would better serve its constituents by establishing a legal adult marijuana market and ensuring that all cannabis products cannabis sold in the Commonwealth are accurately labeled and regulated for consumer safety. “said JM Pedini, Director of Development for NORML and executive director of Virginie NORML.
Additionally, the Youngkin administration wants to ban the retail sale of Delta 8 THC products and has also proposed limiting sales of CBD products to consumers 21 and older.
“The proposed changes not only undermine the original consumer safety objectives of SB 591, but codify loopholes for synthetic marijuana and high-THC products for sale at retail and wholesale outside of the strict regulatory oversight currently required. for legal cannabis products produced in Virginia,” Pedini added.
Lawmakers will vote on Youngkin’s proposed amendment on April 27.
In November 2021, the City of Williamsburg addressed the sale of medical cannabis, the retail sale of cannabis, and cannabis products or extracts.
The city’s ordinance code was written that if something isn’t listed in an ordinance, it’s not allowed. That’s why the city council decided to amend a zoning ordinance for the city’s Economic Development (ED) district.
The City of Williamsburg voted in favor of PCR # 21-010: An Amendment to Zoning Text to modify Article III. District Regulations, Division 10.1 Economic Development District ED*, Section 21-362, to license medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In other words, PCR#21-010 was an application to amend a zoning ordinance to permit medical dispensaries licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia under the Virginia Code in the Economic Development (ED) District, and to amend additional district regulations to address the sale retail of cannabis and cannabis-based products or extracts.
The ED contains Riverside Hospital, an apartment complex, and multi-family homes.
Prior to the vote, it was recommended that these medical dispensaries be located near hospitals since cannabis is classified as “medical cannabis” and “medical cannabis products”. This means that dispensary customers and users are required to have a medical prescription before purchasing cannabis.
At the time of the vote to change the ordinance, there were four medical dispensary licenses issued by the state of Virginia. All medical dispensaries that end up in the city must be licensed by the state and must follow all state regulations.
At the time of the vote, the Williamsburg City Council clarified that this zoning amendment does not include the retail sale of recreational cannabis within city limits.
James City and York counties have not made any decisions regarding the sale of medical cannabis, the retail sale of cannabis, or cannabis products/extracts.
As Virginia crosses another 4/20, a date synonymous with cannabis use, the state continues to weigh in on the type of restrictions and penalties that will be tied to the sale and use of cannabis products. for recreational purposes.
The recreational sale of cannabis is unlikely to come to James City and York counties and the city of Williamsburg anytime soon.