Virginia delegates advance marijuana retail marketplace bill

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia House of Delegates on Monday narrowly passed a bill aimed at establishing a retail marketplace for the sale of recreational marijuana.

Virginia voters decided to end the state’s prohibition on recreational marijuana in 2021, with a date of Jan. 1, 2024 set for the beginning of retail sales. However, in the years since the voters made that decision, little was done to make sure the state would meet its Jan. 1 deadline for retail sales.

In November 2023, the voters put Democrats in control of both houses of Virginia’s General Assembly – a political blow to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin who campaigned hard for other Virginia Republicans leading up to the election.

Now – on Monday – the Virginia House of Delegates advanced HB698 by a narrow margin of 52-48. The bill is a first step in moving the state forward on what Virginia residents voted for years ago.

The vote was largely along party lines with Democrats voting yes to approve the bill and Republicans voting no. Only one Republican member voted to move the bill forward – District 41 Del. Joseph C. Obenshain.

The bill goes into detail defining a number of different terminology so the legislature can better operate as the state works to regulate a marijuana industry for the first time.

The bill will be sent from the House of Delegates to the Senate sometime this week.

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