The recently concluded state elections in Virginia are expected to impact the implementation of legal marijuana in the state. According to WSLS 10 News, the new Republican government can influence the implementation of the law legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.
The current bill has set the stage for the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana. However, clearer guidelines are yet to be released, which is seen as a problem by many as it does not address essential details of the impending market.
Delegate Todd Gilbert commented, “They passed the legalization of marijuana, but they did so without any sort of regulatory framework around it. All they did was essentially create a black market for marijuana. We’re going to have to fix all of that.”
The vital information such as the state of retail and sales, market framework, taxation, and tax revenue allocation has not been clarified since the law was passed.
The legalization bill was passed just recently was took effect in July this year. This made possession, personal use, and cannabis home growing legal.
According to Marijuana Moment, Democrats, who formerly ruled the Virginian government, planned to create a framework that would regulate commercial production and sales. However, the recent win on the side of Republicans has placed this plan in uncertain territory.
“The question isn’t legalization. We’ve already enacted that. Now we have the other side of the legalization equation. We haven’t enacted the other major policy components, which are consumer safety and public safety, and those come from implementing a regulatory structure”, said Virginia NORML executive director Jenn Michelle Pedini.
While many are hoping for support from newly elected governor Glenn Youngkin, Delegate Sam Rasoul noted that it may be difficult. He said, “Governor-Elect Youngkin has outlined his thoughts there that he’s not interested in really addressing the bill too much.”
The governor-elect is yet to release a statement on whether he will move up the timeline of marijuana legalization in Virginia. He was cited saying that legalization is “another problem that’s going to be dumped at [his] feet” if he is elected. It is important to note that “he won’s seek to repeal marijuana legalization,” as per WSLS 10 News.
Youngkin is seen to be not as supportive of the measure as former governor Ralph Northam. He was corrected by The Washington post in his statement that “every single state” with legal marijuana has failed to reach revenue projections.
Marijuana Moment noted that even if Republican leaders exert effort in supporting the legal marijuana market, “the change in political control could also scrap Democrats’ effort to build racial and social equity programs into the market.” The GOP has resisted plans to address the inequitable consequences of the drug war in the past.
Gilbert, who is expected to be the majority leader for the upcoming session, said, “The General Assembly is left with trying to figure out a path forward in terms of how to deal with that issue.”
A Cannabis Oversight Commission subcommittee meeting was concluded on November 10 and was focused on speeding up legal sales.