Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow recreational marijuana sales to begin later this year, a significant change from the original start date.
The legislation passed in the Virginia State Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority, 23 to 16, According to local TV station WTKR.
If it becomes law, the measure would allow sales of entertainment utensils to begin on September 15 — the original start date too early for New Year’s Day 2024.
“This ensures consumers can legally purchase safe and regulated products,” said the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Senator Adam Eben, as quoted by Virginia Mercury.
Eben told local station WRIC His bill would “require those who gain an early sales advantage to incubate small businesses and those who want to enter the market.”
It’s possible the defenders haven’t even started celebrating yet.
The prospects for the bill outside that room may not be promising. Republicans control the House of Delegates, and unlike last year, when then-Democratic Governor Ralph Northham signed legislation that made Virginia the first state in the South to legalize a recreational pot, the Republican Party now has one of its own at the governor’s mansion in Glen Yongkin, who was elected in November and took office. Last month.
WTKR reported That three Republican senators voted in favor of the bill passed the House on Tuesday, but others in the party complained about the legislation, which spanned 400 pages.
“It’s a bunch of bullshit. There’s still chaos.” Republican Senator Mark Peck said: According to the station,.
Virginia GOP lawmakers drafted bills Their own aims to bring structure to an emerging cannabis program.
Associated Press It reported late last month that Republicans there “drafted bills that would raise the start date for retail sales and do away with a provision giving preference to licensing for people who have been convicted of marijuana offenses,” including “at least eight bills calling for amendments to the law that legalized possession of marijuana.” adults for up to one ounce of marijuana and laying the groundwork for retail sales to begin in 2024.”
Eben’s bill is now heading to the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, where Todd Gilbert, the Republican Party chair, has expressed caution about lax regulation.
A Gilbert spokesperson told Associated Press last month.
Northham, which was limited in term after last year, signed the bill last spring, establishing the Cannabis Control Authority as the regulatory arm of its new adult marijuana program.
The authority previously said that sales of recreational utensils would not begin until 2024.
Yongkin for his part, He said he won’t “Seeks to repeal the Personal Possession Act,” but he also expressed concerns about the regulatory structure for the sale of marijuana.
“When it comes to marketing, I think there is a lot of work to be done. I am not against it, but there is a lot of work to be done,” Yongkin said. Virginia Business In an interview published before taking office.
“There are some non-parties, including compulsory unions that are in existing law. There have been concerns expressed by law enforcement about how the gap in laws is actually enforced. Finally, there is a real need to make sure that we are not promoting a non-competitive industry. I understand that there are preferences To ensure that all those involved in the industry are qualified to do well in the industry.”