Virginia House speaker urges faster adult-use marijuana timeline

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Virginia’s House speaker said she will support a measure to legalize adult-use marijuana on July 1 instead of waiting nearly three years.

“The time is now for us to act,” Democratic Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn tweeted on Friday.

Virginia lawmakers in February passed a compromise measure to legalize the first recreational marijuana market in the South, but they set a launch date of Jan. 1, 2024.

The measure also requires lawmakers to reenact key provisions of the bill next year, including aspects that detail the structure of a commercial market.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam indicated in an interview with VPM News last week that he also would like to see legalization progress more quickly, the Associated Press reported.

Northam has until Wednesday to send proposed amendments to the bill to the House and Senate to consider.

Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, wouldn’t comment on Filler-Corn’s announcement, according to the Associated Press.

But she said in a statement: “Governor Northam continues to have productive conversations with legislators and stakeholders on amendments to the marijuana legalization bill.”

Marijuana Business Daily projects that Virginia’s adult-use sales will reach up to $500 million in the program’s first full year and as much as $1.4 billion by its fifth year.