Virginia Senate passes bill to begin recreational marijuana sales in September
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia Senate passed a bill to begin recreational marijuana sales in September.
If signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the measure would allow certain medical providers to sell cannabis to adults beginning Sept. 15 until the legal market fully opens in 2024. Under current law, only adults with a medical license can purchase marijuana from a dispensary.
The bill would require pharmaceutical and industrial hemp processors to pay a one-time fee to open a store for recreational sales. Pharmaceutical processors should pay $6 million and hemp processors should donate $500,000 to the Department of Taxation.
The legislation still has to go through the House of Delegates, where it is expected to face changes from the Republican-led chamber.
The bill, which passed Tuesday on a 23-16 bipartisan vote, establishes the regulatory framework for the recreational market after Virginia lawmakers legalized simple possession and limited home cultivation for adults last year without in place.
Retail sales were delayed until 2024 as lawmakers included a replenishment clause in the bill requiring a second vote to take place during the 2022 legislative session to advance the legal recreational market.
Newly empowered House Republicans have criticized efforts to legalize marijuana in Virginia, but the caucus did not withdraw any of the House’s legislation from the committee.
Before the start of the legislative session, House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said Democrats in the Senate are leaving many issues unresolved after deciding to pass the bill without a regulatory framework, saying the existing law only improves the illicit marijuana market.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
Register for email alerts from ABC 8News and be the first to know when news breaks in your community. Get the latest news, weather and more.