Youngkin Wants to Add Two Marijuana Misdemeanors for Possession of More Than Two Ounces and More Than Six Ounces

Governor Glenn Youngkin has asked the General Assembly to approve creating two new marijuana misdemeanors: a Class Two misdemeanor for possessing more than two ounces and less than six ounces of marijuana, and a Class One misdemeanor for possessing more than six ounces but less than one pound of marijuana, the felony limit. Youngkin introduced the changes in an amendment to Senator Emmett Hanger’s (R-Augusta) SB 591, a ban on selling marijuana products in the shape of a human, animal, or fruit.

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House of Delegates Subcommittee Recommends Postponing Marijuana Sales Legalization

A House of Delegates General Laws subcommittee voted five to three on Monday to recommend continue a key marijuana sales legalization bill until the 2023 session, effectively dooming the bill for now. Senate Bill 391 would create the regulatory structure for a legal marijuana industry in Virginia, including cultivation, manufacture, and sale. If the General Laws Committee follows the recommendation from the subcommittee, Virginia’s legal-to-own but not legal-to-buy recreational cannabis structure will remain in place for now.

Bill sponsor Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) told the delegates, “The action of this subcommittee, as we discussed, will establish a Virginia cannabis brand. The question is whether the brand will be a regulated, confined marketplace for adults, or for an import crime subsidization program proliferating in school yards and gas stations.”

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Marijuana Legal to Possess After July 1, But Still Illegal to Buy or Trade in Virginia

Possessing marijuana in amounts of up to one ounce will be legal July 1, but sales will still be outlawed in Virginia until 2024. That means there will be no clear legal way to acquire marijuana or marijuana plants, despite possession itself being legal.

“Outside of the medical cannabis program, there remains no legal access to marijuana in Virginia,” Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini told The Virginia Star.

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Northam Proposes Legalizing Marijuana in July

Marijuana legalization is back on track for July, after Governor Ralph Northam announced amendments to legalization legislation. In February, legislators surprised marijuana policy watchers by delaying the effective date of legalization until 2024, leading the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia to blast the bills as worse than nothing. Since then, legalization advocates have lobbied Northam to amend the legislation to go into effect in July, when most other recently-passed bills take effect.

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Virginia General Assembly Postpones Marijuana Legalization Until 2024

The Virginia General Assembly passed marijuana legalization bills on Saturday, a move that had been expected to make Virginia the first southern state to legalize marijuana. However, legislators from the House of Delegates and the Senate passed a compromise that delays legalization and retail sale of marijuana until 2024. The compromise, created in a conference committee, also requires another vote in 2022 to confirm parts of the bill.

While some legalization advocates said passage of the bill was progress, others criticized it.

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