Virginia lawmaker introduces marijuana sales bill

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More cannabis reforms are coming this year, possibly in Virginia, as well

A new year brings with it many more new proposals among many of the lawmakers who want to see the future of the marijuana industry move forward. With the intention of creating a regulated marijuana market in the Commonwealth, a Republican lawmaker from Virginia has recently introduced a new bill. However, reactions among advocates have been mixed. Some see the measure as simply a giveaway to large multi-state operators at the expense of fairness to people who have been affected by the drug wars.

Building on current state law, Delegate Keith Hodges unveiled legislation that allows for the legal possession of adult-use marijuana and personal cultivation through the creation of a commercial market. The legislature has received some calls from advocates to take action once and for all to allow sales to begin.

HB 1464 is intended to amend regulatory provisions that had been given the green light in the past, paving the way for lawmakers to come up with an alternative model for the market. The measure has been supported by some, indicating that the revised language opens a path for consumers to ultimately gain access to regulated products under a partially GOP-controlled administration and legislature. However, the changes do not appear to sit well with many others when it comes to social equity provisions.

The legislation has proposed to remove language requiring regulators to develop different shelves to give social equity applicants a higher priority. In replacement of that condition, regulators should consider prioritizing any applicants who plan to work in an area that has been historically economically disadvantaged, rather than those who are specifically from that area.

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