House subcommittee kills marijuana legislation

RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) – A House of Delegates subcommittee has killed legislation that would have established a retail marketplace for marijuana in Virginia.

The vote makes it highly unlikely retail sales of marijuana will begin in early 2024.

“It is legal to possess small amounts of cannabis. It’s legal to grow your own cannabis, yet we are kind of dragging our feet on establishing a retail market that could provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) the sponsor of the legislation.

Ebbin said his bill would establish a regulated market, with tested products for adults and protections to keep marijuana away from children.

Representatives of the cannabis industry asked the committee to pass the bill.

Speakers representing the Family Foundation and the Virginia Catholic Conference spoke against it.

A representative of Governor Glenn Youngkin said the administration is not taking a position on retail sales, but has issues with Ebbin’s bill.

“What he’s said over and over again is we’re focused on cleaning up the illegal hemp and Delta 8 sales that are going on right now throughout the commonwealth,” said Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Parker Slaybaugh. “This bill pairs the two together and says we will only go after the Delta 8 and illegal hemp markets if we stand up a legal cannabis market,” Slaybaugh said. “So for those reasons we do oppose.”

There are other bills that could still be amended, but it now appears unlikely legislation authorizing retail marijuana sales will move forward this year.

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