Cannabis Commission makes recommendations to General Assembly

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 7:58 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia General Assembly legalized marijuana last year, but the issue is still evolving, as state lawmakers continue working to establish a legal marketplace.

The state’s Cannabis Oversight Commission met Monday morning and approved recommendations for the General Assembly, including a proposal to speed up the timetable for retail sales by a year, to January 2023.

But with a new Governor, and a new Republican majority in the House of Delegates, it’s still unclear exactly where the issue is headed.

“From the onset. I want to share with you there are widespread concerns about the legislation of Cannabis in Virginia,” said Richmond minister Rev. Lester D. Frye. “In fact, many are downright fearful about exactly what is going on. "

The debate over legalization continues, months after lawmakers approved the possession and home cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, but the issues that members of the Cannabis Oversight Commission were considering Monday deal with the establishment of a legal marketplace.

Still at issue are concerns about social equity.

“The local persons should have an opportunity,” one speaker told members of the commission. “We fought for this. We’ve been impacted in this community. And the bigger companies coming from out of state, out of town, we should have a fair share as well.”

Del. Will Morefield (R-Tazewell) spoke of the need for strong regulations.

“If we don’t, we could end up with something that could be a complete disaster, and completely devastating to so many people across the Commonwealth,” Morefield said.

We will have a new Republican majority in the House of Delegates Wednesday, and a new Republican Governor Saturday. Glenn Youngkin has indicated he doesn’t plan to revisit the decision to decriminalize simple possession, but where the issue is headed is still a developing story.

“The key, of course, is legislation. How do you manage it? How do you go forward? And there’s a great deal of disagreement there,” said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton. “I personally think that it’s going to take probably a couple of sessions before there is agreement.”

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