Changes to Virginia Marijuana Laws Take Effect July 1
Today marks the one year anniversary of legalization in Virginia and multiple changes to marijuana law take effect.Read more
Approved Budget Recriminalizes Public Marijuana Possession Over Four Ounces of Marijuana
Del. Dawn Adams speaks in opposition to the new misdemeanors during floor debate
Today, the Virginia General Assembly voted to approve the budget bill which contains language to recriminalize personal possession of over four ounces of marijuana in public. The language, which creates two new misdemeanors, will take effect immediately upon Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s signature on the budget.
Currently, the personal possession in public of more than one ounce and up to one pound of marijuana by adults 21 and older is subject to no more than a $25 civil penalty. Upon the Governor’s signature, personal possession in public of over four ounces and less than a pound of cannabis will be a Class 3 misdemeanor, making it punishable by a $500 fine. Second or subsequent offenses will be Class 2 misdemeanors punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.Read more
Senate Kills Governor’s Recriminalization Amendment, Bill Addressing Synthetically Derived Marijuana Products
Republican Gov. Glen Youngkin’s recent attempt to recriminalize activities involving the possession of two ounces of marijuana by adults via the enactment of an amendment to SB 591 has been defeated for the session. That effort failed on Wednesday with lawmakers’ refusal to advance the bill it was added to, SB 591.
Legislators voted to re-refer SB 591 to the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services committee. With the 2022 legislative session having already ended, this vote effectively ends any further discussion on the legislation this year.Read more
Governor Youngkin Moves to Re-criminalize Personal Possession of Marijuana
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is seeking to re-criminalize certain activities specific to the possession of marijuana in Virginia.
The Governor has proposed an amendment in the nature of a substitute to SB 591 which would create two new misdemeanors for personal marijuana possession.
Currently, the personal possession of more than one ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older is subject to no more than a $25 civil penalty. The governor’s amendment would codify two new marijuana misdemeanors — a Class 2 misdemeanor for the personal possession of over two ounces of cannabis, making it punishable by up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 fine, and a Class 1 misdemeanor for the personal possession of over six ounces. The latter activity would be punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or $2,500 fine.Read more
Governor Youngkin Signs Legislation to Improve Medical Cannabis Program
AP Photo/Steve Helber
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has signed HB 933 and SB 671, to provide numerous operational improvements to the state’s medical cannabis program, including eliminating the requirement that patients register with the Board of Pharmacy after receiving their written certification from a registered practitioner.
“These legislative improvements will bring great relief to the thousands of Virginians waiting to access the medical cannabis program,” said JM Pedini, NORML’s Development Director and the Executive Director of Virginia NORML. “We hear from dozens of Virginians each week who are struggling with the registration process and frustrated by the 60-day wait to receive their approval from the Board of Pharmacy,” Pedini added.Read more
Senate Approves Adult-use Cannabis Retail Sales in Bipartisan Vote
Today, the Virginia Senate approved Senate Bill 391 in a historic bipartisan vote to regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults 21 and older. Sales could begin as early as September 15, 2022 at the state’s existing medical dispensaries. The bill also provides for the licensing of additional cultivation, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale businesses via the recently established Cannabis Control Authority.
Virginia NORML has consistently advocated for launching sales ahead of the legislature’s initially proposed January 1, 2024 start date. “We’re pleased that there is bipartisan support for expediting retail access,” said JM Pedini, NORML’s Development Director and the Executive Director of Virginia NORML.Read more
Legislative Oversight Commission Urges Lawmakers to Expedite Launch of Retail Cannabis Sales
Members of Virginia’s Joint Commission on Cannabis Oversight decided this week in favor expediting the timeline for the launch of adult-use marijuana sales.
By a margin of 7 to 1, members voted to recommend allowing state-licensed sales to begin on January 1, 2023 — one-year ahead of schedule. Facilities currently serving the medical-use market would be permitted to also engage in adult-use sales under the plan, which still must be voted on next year by state lawmakers.
Virginia NORML has consistently advocated for launching sales ahead of the legislature’s initial January 1, 2024 start date. “Virginians 21 and older ought to have access at the already-operational dispensaries sooner rather than later, and they have been very clear in their demands to move earlier the date of sales,” said JM Pedini, NORML’s Development Director and the Executive Director of Virginia NORML.Read more
Election Outcomes Likely to Influence Marijuana Legalization Launch
GOP gains in the state legislature on Election Day will likely influence the timeline and manner with which lawmakers enact adult-use marijuana sales in Virginia.
Outgoing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation in April permitting adults to possess and grow small quantities of cannabis. That same legislation established a timeline by which state regulators must enact provisions licensing commercial cannabis production and sales. No Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the legislation on the floor of either chamber.Read more
Virginia State Police Seal Over 64,000 Misdemeanor Marijuana Distribution Convictions
Virginia State Police have sealed 64,651 conviction records related to misdemeanor marijuana distribution charges since the state legalized adult use marijuana in July.
The state legislature’s Cannabis Oversight Commission made the announcement during a Thursday meeting.
333,886 simple marijuana possession conviction records were previously sealed after the state enacted a measure in 2020 to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession offenses.Read more
Botanical Medical Cannabis Sales Begin in Virginia
Sales of cannabis flower in Virginia began this month when dispensaries in Manassas, Portsmouth, and Richmond received the final product approvals from the Board of Pharmacy, the state agency which currently regulates medical cannabis.Read more