Virginia governor signs recreational cannabis bill

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday signed legislation legalizing a potential $1.4 billion adult-use marijuana market that could start as soon as Jan. 1, 2024.

Lawmakers had agreed on a measure in February, but the Democratic governor proposed amendments to accelerate the timeline for limited marijuana possession and home grow and for expunging criminal records. Lawmakers passed the amended bill earlier this month.

Marijuana possession and home cultivation provisions now go into effect on July 1 of this year.

The timetable to start commercial sales wasn’t changed in the amended bill, but marijuana advocates have said they will continue to push for an earlier start.

Marijuana Business Daily projects that a recreational marijuana market in Virginia will generate $400 million to $500 million in retail sales in its first full year and $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion by its fifth year.

A cannabis board would establish the number of licensees, not to exceed 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 cultivators and 60 manufacturers.

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