Adult-use marijuana legalization bids reintroduced in Virginia, West Virginia

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Virginia lawmakers this week resumed their quest to legalize adult-use marijuana retail operations in their state, the largest to legalize use and possession without also launching sales.

Meanwhile, elected representatives in West Virginia reintroduced a recreational marijuana legalization proposal.

In Virginia, state Sens. Adam Ebbin and Aaron Rouse introduced a bill that would allow for adult-use sales to begin in the state in 2025.

It’s similar to an effort that failed last year.

And the familiar standoff between Virginia’s Democratic lawmakers, who control both chambers of the General Assembly, and Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin remains.

Virginia legalized adult-use cannabis possession in 2021.

However, the launch of a market projected to be worth $1 billion within three years required lawmakers to pass future legislation.

And it was Youngkin whose interference is credited with sabotaging a push to do just that last year.

It’s believed Democratic control will help push the bill forward but won’t be sufficient to overcome a Youngkin veto.

And Youngkin appears unmoved, telling reporters after his annual State of the Commonwealth address, that “I just don’t have a lot of interest in pressing forward with marijuana legislation” the Virginian-Pilot reported.

In West Virginia, House Bill 4873, introduced by Democratic Del. Evan Hansen, would legalize adult use with rules and regulations similar to those seen across the United States.

According to Clarksburg TV station WBOY, the bill would:

  • Set a 15% state excise tax and a 6% local sales tax.
  • Allow counties to pass local bans on commercial activity.
  • Distribute tax revenue to a state employee pension fund as well as drug-treatment programs and law enforcement.

Lawmakers introduced a similar proposal last year that did not make it out of committee, WBOY reported.

Relatively sparsely populated West Virginia launched medical cannabis sales in 2021 after a record delay between legislation and market launch of more than 4½ years.

Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis Corp. has enjoyed a leading market position in the state’s MMJ industry.