Legislation to legalize the distribution of marijuana to those 21 and older has been passed by a Virginia legislative committee.
Despite legalizing recreational marijuana in 2021, Virginia remains the only legal marijuana state to not allow sales in any capacity. Today, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 7 to 5 to change this by allowing licensed marijuana sales through the passage of Senate Bill 448. The measure has already been approved through the Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services
The proposal, filed by Senator Aaron Rouse (D), would establish a system of licensed and regulated marijuana retail outlets, supplied by licensed growers and processors. Sales would begin sometime in 2025. Cities would be allowed to ban marijuana stores, but only through voter approval.
“What this bill does is help set up a well regulated adult retail market for cannabis”, says Senator Rouse. “We have been taking lots and lots of recommendations from a really broad bipartisan effort to get this just right.”
A provision of the bill that would hage allowed cities to criminalize carrying marijuana in an open container was removed via amendment.
Separate legislation (Senate Bill 423) that would also legalize marijuana sales by allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to anyone 21 and older rather than just patients was recently passed by a Senate subcommittee.